Playful virtuoso with unobtrusive leadership
Even before graduating from the ArtEZ Conservatorium in 1987, pianist and composer Michiel Braam had formed his own big band, called Bik Bent Braam. His mission, he says, is to make his role as band leader as inconspicuous as possible. But that hasn’t stopped him from constantly trying out new formations and collaborations. Freedom, flexibility and an aversion to tedium are the foundations of his music. Whether he’s playing bebop, Latin or film music, Braam certainly never suffers from tedium.
Alongside his work as head of the ArtEZ Jazz & Pop department, Braam lends his playful virtuosity to assorted projects. In doing so, he stresses that the music does not revolve around him, but around the musicians who play it. He focuses on Antillean music in the trio Nos Otrobanda. He forms the duo Penguins Too with saxophonist Frank Nielander. He improvises on the basis of poems with Annelie Koning. He pays tribute to Rahsaan Roland Kirk as part of Reeds & Deeds. A wide range of collaborations with national and international talents – among them Benjamin Herman, Louis Sclavis and Steve Argüelles – rounds off Braam’s extensive CV.