Spain and The Netherlands, Jazz, and the World Cup

The World Cup is over, and I suppose the time has come for me to stop complaining. I was cheering for Holland from the beginning, and was crushed when the Netherlands lost to Spain in the final minutes of overtime in the final, in what in general was a pretty good game.

These two countries are soccer superpowers, but have also made some nice contributions as far as jazz musicians go.

The Dutch boasts a drummer who is a virtuoso in all styles, from Dixieland to free jazz. I speak of Han Bennink, who was the drummer of choice for jazz musicians like Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins and Eric Dolphy when they would make their trips to Holland (in fact, Bennink was the drummer on Dolphy’s album Last Date from 1964).

Spain boasts the extremely talented blind-born pianist, Tete Montoliu. Montoliu learned to read music in Braille when he was seven, and a wonderful piano style followed shortly after. Several top-notch jazz musicians enjoyed working with Montoliu as well, including Lionel Hampton and Roland Kirk.

In addition to being thankful for the contributions the Netherlands and Spain gave to the 2010 World Cup, we can also be thankful for the contributions of their jazz musicians as well.

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