[...] His preference for scalar patterns and single-note lines emphasizes relationships to eastern and African traditions, sometimes setting up polyrhythmic dialogues between his two hands. Veenendaal doesn’t need much time to develop remarkable complexity: “Pirouetteke” is under two minutes and sounds like brilliant hand-drumming on chromatic drums or electronic sound sources. Given his general dedication to the keyboard, Veenendaal‘s occasional forays to the strings are especially noteworthy, as in the piece called “Whales” which mixes string stroking and keyboard thumps in an evocation of animal voices. The only piece credited to another composer is Mingus’s “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat,” which here sounds oddly like John Cage’s early sonatas for prepared piano. It has the tone of reserved lament with which it’s associated, but there’s also a quality that’s both playful and exotic, the engaging sense of a pan-cultural playground that links it to the other music here.
(Stuart Broomer, Point of Departure, Canada, december 2010)
Van Veenendaal has a style with vision. A man with his own sound: wayward, personal and catchy.
(De Twentsche Courant)
Pianist Albert van Veenendaal went berserk on the piano as if thunder and lightening had struck the Bimhuis!
Pianist Albert van Veenendaal stimulatingly steers a middle course [...] between intelligent abstraction and melodic lyricism.
Albert van Veenendaal is a master when it comes to rhythmical figures.
Partially thanks to the pianist's musical class, elements are added that draw and keep one's attention on almost mystical grounds.
Skill, the ability to change course in a flash and compositional jokes keep this dangerous adventure in styles and genres convincing in a way that reminds of Frank Zappa and Carla Bley.
Stimulating, exciting and technically excellent
Van Veenendaal makes you believe that a prepared piano Ã la John Cage is primarily designed for jazz.
(Remco Takken, freelance journalist)
Albert van Veenendaal on three new CD's
music out of collaboration, not controversy
Trytone are releasing three CD's in one go featuring Albert van Veenendaal. 'Terra Firma' is a CD with new music for three pianos. Next to Van Veenendaal play Niko Langenhuijsen and Joseph Dumoulin. 'Songs to Dance Strangely With' puts the classic jazz formation of piano, double bass and drums into a new light.
'Stripes & Spikes & Strikes' is an intimate album with saxophonist Esmée Olthuis.
Van Veenendaal himself on these new CD's: "All musicians on the CD's see it as their own project, just as I do. Only, coincidentally I play on all three of them. What I find very interesting, and that's a common thing of all groups: the piano is being put to use in the broadest possible sense. A piano is a solo instrument but it's also an accompanying instrument and a rhythm instrument. A piano can do it all. It's about combined action, which can be approached in different ways.
A duo, like playing with Esmée Olthuis, brings out these three aspects the most, I think. A one-on-one combination of this kind offers the most possibilities to use the piano in all its facets. We once improvised in 'Zaal 100' because we both had this feeling that we should do 'something' together. That worked out very well, 'Stripes & Spikes & Strikes' is already our second CD.
Esmée once made a joke about me being her steady accompanist but often it feels exactly the other way around! With Esmée I'm very much into lyricism, spreading out long lines."
A different view on the classic formation
"The piano trio with double bass player Meinrad Kneer and drummer Yonga Sun tries to put the classic jazz formation of piano, double bass and drums into a new light. I said once: before I turn fifty I want to have played in a classic piano trio. It happened, I'm 48 now.
With double bass player Meinrad Kneer, we seek out 'the edge'. The blues 'Reminiscence' is completely improvised, where it's about challenging each other, more so than in the other two groups. We do that by not giving the piano a central roll as 'the guy who plays the harmonies, the melodies and the solo's '. We strive at equality among the partners.
A common sound
This counts even stronger for the three pianists of Travelling Light. In the CD cover you'll find pictures of the pianists' backs. The idea was to search for a common sound while maintaining space for individual contribution. This is an interesting paradox. You still hear the player's characters in Travelling Light. That's why I had them include in the CD-booklet who's to be heard on the left, who's in the middle and who's on the right in the stereo-picture. But when we discussed our ideas, the question was more: how do we sound with three grand pianos? How can we create a 'group sound'? One of the programs we did with Travelling Light wasn't called 'Contexxxt' without a reason. The three x's stood for three signatures but the signatures of three anonymous people."
Rarely does Van Veenendaal push forward as a bandleader and also in this recent litter of CD's he is above all to be heard as equal partner of the other musicians. Neither is a CD of the Albert van Veenendaal Trio part of the deal nor heavy confrontations with extravert soloists.
"Recently I spoke about this at great length to Corrie van Binsbergen. Just like her I'm a real ensemble-player. I think that's because we come from the same generation. We find it more exciting to achieve something through collaboration than through controversy.
That's in my character and I also find it musically more interesting. I absolutely seek out tension and risk but always to serve the composition, never to push something through. It's very dependant on the people you play with. I'm convinced that if you find the right people, the entirety is more than the sum of its parts."
(TT559-029) Van Veenendaal/Kneer/Sun: Songs To Dance Strangely With
(TT559-030) Travelling Light Piano Trio: Terra Firma
(TT559-031) Olthuis & Van Veenendaal: Stripes & Spikes & Strikes