(By Peter van Esch during Jazz International Nijmegen 2018)

As a bass guitarist, composer and initiator, Teun (Netherlands, 1991) has always had a broad interest in various musical genres, which has never limited him to playing only one genre. Teun has performed nationally and internationally with a wide variety of bands in genres such as blues, jazz, funk, rock, punk, impro, afrobeat, Latin and other types of world music. One of his better-known bands was De Raad van Toezicht, with whom he played on most leading national stages, released two albums, received a nomination for a Zilveren Notenkraker and was a regular guest on various radio and television programmes such as De Wereld Draait Door.

In recent years, Teun has worked with various African artists, such as the virtuoso Sekou Kouyate (Guinea) and Harouna Samake (Mali), with whom he has toured Europe, Africa and Asia. Sekou Kouyate is regarded as one of the best (electric) kora players in the world and Harouna Samake (former band leader of Salif Keita) as one of the best kamale n’goni players in the world. By touring with these musicians, Teun was able to learn a lot from both Sekou and Harouna about West African musical traditions and the characteristic bass guitar style that belongs to them. Because of this, many influences from West African music have become part of Teun’s personal bass style and sound.

Other bands and projects in which Teun has been active as initiator, bass guitarist and composer in recent years include: the punk jazz band SPUNK! and his educational music programme for primary schools Life of Matheo. In addition, Teun is a sideman in the jazz formation Meika.

On the horizon:

Currently, Teun is working on forming a new band and recording an album that will be released in 2022. On this album, the focus is divided between using the underexposed possibilities of the bass guitar and the rich sounds and rhythms from West Africa.

In his eyes, the bass guitar is more than an accompanying instrument. His view of the bass guitar has been strongly influenced by the similarities between the bass guitar and the guitar, as a result of which he has implemented many typical guitaristic skills in his playing. A style of playing in which the function of the instrument alternates flawlessly between melody, chords and rhythmic accompaniment without using the obvious soloistic and technical clich├ęs.

By releasing this album, Teun aims to inspire and stimulate a larger audience to look beyond the stereotypical expectations surrounding the bass guitar. This much-needed counter sound will show the bass guitar outside of its accompanying box. Because of this, he hopes that in the future more people will appreciate more possibilities of the bass guitar than only the accompanying side in the low range.

Besides this focus on the role of the bass guitar there will also be strong African influences on the album. African music lends itself incredibly well to moving away from the classic role of bass guitarists. The album will also feature various African instruments such as the kamale n’goni, guimbri and a large number of percussion instruments. Through these African influences, Teun aims to inspire and motivate listeners to explore what Africa has to offer musically.