Updated: Mar 23
The BIMHUIS is one of Amsterdam's longest-running venues for jazz music. Originally founded in 1974 at a smaller space at the Oudeschans (formerly called Nieuwe Gracht). It became the hotspot for improvised music and legendary artists such as Sun Ra, Art Blakey, Pharoah Sanders, Charles Mingus, and countless others were all part of the first twenty years in the former furniture showroom. Around 1995 the first phase was over due to new plans for the city and the restrictions that came with it. Ten years later the prestigious Muziekgebouw opened its doors and had the BIMHUIS located inside, with the now iconic view of the bubblin' city through the glass windows behind the stage.
For almost twenty years, the new BIMHUIS space has become a central hub for today's jazz generation and their audience. The only thing I felt that was missing a bit were artists that belong just as much on a jazz stage as in an underground hip-hop club, or the more hybrid artists that crossover into the electronic world. Today's music has a bit of everything and this merging is where new interesting combinations arise.
Since the current generation of jazz musicians all grew up with hip-hop and other electronic music it was bound to evolve again, as it has always done since day one. In the US, a part of this evolution birthed the late 90s neo-soul sound, with the Soulquarians collective being the prime instigator for this direction of fusing jazz, hip-hop, and soul music. Part of this movement were artists like D'Angelo, Erykah Badu, Questlove (The Roots), J Dilla, Roy Hargrove, James Poyser, Common, Bilal, Q-Tip, and more. The inspirational aftermath that came out of those years between the late 90s and early 2000s is audible in so much of today's music, and almost just became the standard.
BIMHUIS sees this development and marriage between soul, jazz & hip-hop and decided to use the title of a 1994 song by The Roots to bundle this sound and call it 'DATSKAT'. This weekend (March 24th and 25th), they are launching the concept with two days and four concerts by local and international acts who fit this narrative. We dove into each artist to give you a brief introduction:
Glimlip X Yasper
Two Dutch names who we've seen featured on many playlists over the last four years are Amsterdam based producers/musicians Glimlip and Yasper. Their soulful and jazz-like instrumental beats are favorites in the lofi universe and have attracted millions of plays. While Glimlip stayed mostly active in the studio, guitarist Yasper was spotted on many stages with artists like Bnnyhunna, Els, Sabrina Starke, Joshua J, and others. Now they're bringing their signature chillhop sound to the live stage and will have several guests with them, such as trumpeter Peter Somuah and vocalist Nic Hanson.
Berlin-based drummer and producer MAGRO blends acoustic jazz with current r&b/hip-hop productions. He started steppin' into the forefront with his first album in 2021 called Trippin, which was awarded the German Jazz Prize. The album combined inspiration from Herbie Hancock and modern-day drum god Chris Dave. Over the years, Magro has collaborated with numerous artists, including J. Lamotta, Stimulus, Yvonne Mwale, and Kurt Rosenwinkel. He's part of this new wave and a great fit for the DATSKAT weekend.
Ashley Henry Trio
Pianist Ashley Henry is a self-taught composer from London town whose star has been rising fast since his first EP came out via Jazz Re:Freshed in 2016. The first thing I thought upon hearing his take on Nas' 'The World Is Yours' was that the original sample source, which is pianist Ahmad Jamal and his masterpiece 'I Love Music', time traveled and made new music today. When Ashley's debut album Beautiful Vinyl Hunter arrived in 2020 it became one of the jazz albums of the year and received global praise. Recently Henry has been adding his own vocals into the mix as well, which added a new and profound layer to his story.
The Rotterdam-based Brintex Collective is built around keyboardist Brenn Luiten and his vibrant compositions. Early on when they had only played a few performances, we got in touch with them and they became part of the Amarte Studio Concerts. The series resulted in the Loyal To The Soil Vol.1 compilation with Brintex' 'Anthem' as the opening track. Their rich, melodic tracks are The Netherlands' answer to artists like Alfa Mist and Joe Armon-Jones from the UK. Brintex Collective will be opening up the night before Ashley Henry, so get ready for a night filled with the most soulful chords and grooves.
After the two-day weekender kickoff, there will be various concerts labeled under the DATSKAT umbrella. The first announced one is on June 10th, a collaboration between Rotterdam-based vocalist Ntjam Rosie & Amsterdam-based young guns SMANDEM. They're in the process of re-doing Elle, Ntjam's second album from 2011. The first single 'In Need' came out recently and has an official video as well.
Since you now know the artists and the concept a bit better, we hope that you are just as excited as us, and will find yourselves a good spot in the audience for this one. Looking forward to seeing how this will all come together on the stage.
"Datskat! I know you dig it when I kick it, baby!" - The Roots
Steppin' Into Tomorrow stands with artists & labels and encourages listeners to support them by buying their music directly from Bandcamp. If you've enjoyed this article, please consider subscribing to our monthly newsletter to stay in the loop.