Jan Learbuch is one of those people in the Netherlands who breathes jazz. At first, he was only a musician, but over the years, he became more and more of a producer. First, there were the monthly Swing Club concerts in Hotel de Keyser in Breda, his hometown. Later, the one-day swing festival was born. The ninth edition of the festival is on Sunday 23 October held in Breda. As usual, all venues are free to attend.
Jan Learbuch got into jazz when he was sixteen, listening to a jazz record for the first time. Now, and well over fifty years later, he has a large collection of LP’S and CD’s with all kinds of jazz. “My first album was one of the Swing Daddies. The Orchestra was founded in 1935 in The Hague and played mainly in the Chicago style. After that record, I bought LPs with other jazz styles, like the music from New Orleans. Over the years I got into in the different styles that were played in New Orleans and in doing so I came more and more involved with more modern jazz.‘’
Over the years, his collection of LP’s and CD’s grew steadily. Jan Learbuch says his collection is also study material. While listening he got more and more knowledge of different jazz styles.
At sixteen, he wanted to play an instrument as well to become a jazz musician, but the possibilities in his youth were limited. ”I started to play in a wind orchestra, because then you could get free lessons at a member’s home. I wanted to play trombone, but the orchestra brass section was already complete. They became short of clarinet players, so that is why the clarinet became my instrument.” In later years, Jan started to play the alto saxophone.
Jan has always admired clarinetists from New Orleans such as George Lewis, and in later years Sammy Rimington and Thomas L’etienne. ”After that period, my interest went more and more to saxophonists, Benny Carter, Paul Desmond and Ben Webster to name a few. But I also have a good interest in all sorts of other instrumentalists and formations such as the Modern Jazz Quartet, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and his musical partner Billy Strayhorn.’’
”I enjoy very much singers like Sarah Vaughan, Peggy Lee and Rosemary Clooney, Ann Burton and the exceptionally good big band vocalist from the 1930s and 1940s of the last century, Helen Forrest. I have fantastic recordings of her with the orchestras of Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw.”
Jan Learbuch loves classical music and bossa nova. The French chanson has a special place in his heart. ”I have recordings of Charles Aznavour and Enrico Macias that were only sold in France. And recordings from Gilbert Becaud’s unique concerts at the Olympia Theater in Paris. I find it heart warming that the French public to this day sing along with the chansons from earlier days. And I also love the chansons of Barbara and Yves Montand, they are real gems.’’
In 2003, Jan Learbuch started the Swing Club Concerts in Breda. “The reason was quite simple. Besides the Breda Jazz Festival, there wasn’t much jazz activities in my city. My formula was and is very simple: my orchestra has two well-known soloists per concert from The Netherlands or abroad, paying to audiences and sponsors. The Swing Club Concerts are growing in popularity every year.”
The Swing Festival will be held for the ninth time on Sunday 23 October. ”Downtown Breda is ideal for a one-day jazz festival. Not a traditional pub-crawl, but theme concerts at different locations with top musicians and young talent.” In addition, as with each preceding year there is a performance by the school band of the Mencia de Mendoza Lyceum from Breda. New for this year is a concert by the Orchestra of music education De Nieuwe Veste Breda.
More information: www.swingfestivalbreda.nl