Paul van Kemenade (extended biography)

Altosaxophonist-composer-organisor-producer, Rotterdam NL 1957

History & bands

At the age of 13 and started in 1974 to study music/saxophone at the Brabants Conservatory Tilburg and the last year in 1980 in Amsterdam. In 1976 he started to play in a cabaretshow and in dance/nightclubs untill 1980. In 1977 he started with improvisation music and initiates own bands and projects playing his own compositions. He performed with different bands such as:

Van Ros­sum/Van Kemenade­, Palinckx & Palinckx, the Podium Trio,Vaalbleek by Niko Langenhuijsen­, Brevis, different projects  under own name and he has performed with dance-projects, big bands, writers, performers and poets and painters. He played with De Orkaan­ (Han Bennink ­and Sean Bergin), the Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra by Alex Von Schlippenbach­ (Kenny Wheeler-Ed Thig­pen-Benny Bailey-Gerd Dudek), played with the Surinam Music Ensemble, with Japanese Aki Takase, Bizar Habit, Eric van der Westen octet, with John Engels, Jasper van ’t Hof, Eric Vloeimans.


End of the eighties and beginning nineties: guest co-leadership with Herman de Wit’s workshop-orchestra De Boven­toon and he played in a lot of ad hoc ensembles. During 20 years (1979 – 1999) he tought hundreds of workshops throug­hout the whole country and conducted his workshoporchestra Brabants Leerorkest for five years. From 1985-2005 he played leadalto in Willem van Manen’s modern big band Contraband and worked 27 years   with his own quintet and performed with brass bands, popgroups, symphonic orchestras, with South- and West African musicians and with guest musicians from all around the world.


1984 Podium Prijs of the SJIN, ­the Dutch Jazz Foundation; 1998 Jazz in Duketown Award; 1999 Moderne Industriestad Prijs Tilburg; 1999 VPRO / B­oy Edgar Prijs oeuvre award for professional jazzmusicians in the Netherlands for their contribution to Dutch jazzmusic; 2007­­­­­­­ a Royal decoration ( lid in de Orde van Oranje Nassau ); 2008 Antony Kok Art award ( award for the arts)

Current groups

  • Ray Anderson-Han Bennink-Ernst Glerum-Paul Van Kemenade; (Van Kemenade’s  international quartet, also as quintet with Frank Möbus (USA/NL/BRD)
  • Duo Stevko Busch (p) – Paul van Kemenade (Russian chants and improvisations)
  • Three horns and a bass; (quartet with Verploegen-Boudesteijn-Mahieu-Van Kemenade)
  • Fantasy Colours with Cappella Pratensis-Three horns and a bass-El Periquin-Serigne Gueye; a mixture of four disciplines with renaissance vocals-jazz-african-flamenco.
  • Duo with celloplayer Ernst Reijseger
  • Fugara: Markus Stockhausen-Markku Ounaskari-Stevko Busch-Paul Van Kemenade (BRD/FI/NL)
  • Trio Aki Takase-Han Bennink-Paul Van Kemenade (JP/NL)
  • Trio Han Bennink-Jasper Stadhouders-Paul Van Kemenade
  • Paul Van Kemenade Dutch Quintet (  guests such as Eric Vloeimans, Kenny Wheeler, David Murray, David Linx, Jeroen Zijlstra, Philip Catherine, South Africans Faku-Mnisi-Mndebele,West African Les Freres Guissé)
  • Borderhopping; German/Dutch quintet with a.o. Eckhard Koltermann/Achim Krämer


with Podium Trio (Wierbos-Van Kemenade-Kuiper, three ‘Podium Prijs’ winners (in the nineties performances with Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Cornell Rochester);    and occasionally with Vandoorn trio (vocalist Ineke van Doorn and guitarist Marc van Vugt); trio with the Palinckx brothers; in Strings Get Wings l(stringquartet/cajon/bass/alto with a.o.the French violinplayer Pierre Blanchard/Niko Langenhuijsen); with Peter Hofland (electronic music), and as a soloist in several (inter)national groups/projects.


He was for 7 years programmer of the jazzseries at the Theatre Festival Boulevard in Den Bosch and  in 1993 he initiated the Stranger than Pa­ranoia festival  in Tilburg and is eversince artistic director/programmer of this succesfull small musicfestival. He has played in Europa, Canada, South-Africa, West-Africa, Indonesia.


Plays on more than 55 lp’s and cd’s. One of the cd’s under own name ‘Close Enough’ , has been rewarded as one of best cd’s 2011 in the category Masterpieces ( five stars),  by the American prestigious magazine Downbeat.­

Played with

He has played with a.o. Ray Anderson, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Aki Takase, Ed Thigpen, Frank Möbus, Cecil Mcbee, Benny Bailey, Gerd Du­dek, R­ob van den Broek,Heinz Becker, Kenny Whee­ler, Manfred Zepf, T­ho­mas Heberer, Christoph Haberer, Conny and Johannes Bau­er, Joe Sach­se, Han Bennink, Willem Breu­ker, Mis­ha Mengel­berg, Niko Langenhuijsen, Sean Bergin, Louis Moho­lo, Zim Ngqawa­na, Feya Faku, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, ­Cornell Roche­ster, Theo Jörgens­mann, Eric Vloeimans, Eckard Koltermann, ­Piet Noor­dijk, Hans Dul­fer, Ernst Ludwig Petrovski, ­Kelvyn Bell, R­ai­ner Winterschla­den, Stefan Bauer, Michael Heupel, David Murray, Matthias Nadolny, Jasper van’t Hof, Jo­hn Engels, Pierre Cour­bois, Willem Kühne, D­ré Palle­maerts, Erwin Vann, Philip Catherine, Buddy Wells, Pablo Na­har, Franky Dou­glas, Eddy Veldman, George Lewis, Louis Mhlanga, Toon de Gouw, Leo Cuijpers,  Sydney Mnisi, played with the Metropole Orchestra conducted by Vince Mendoza and Jim McNeely, Brabants Orkest and the Brabants Jazz Orchestra, Les Frères Guissé, David Linx, Ba Cissoko, Robin Eubanks, Euregio Youth Orchestra, McCoy Mrubata, Mark Fransman, Bertil Strandberg, Achim Krämer, Bart van Lier, Ray Anderson, Frank Möbus, Ernst Glerum, Michael Sarin, Mario Pavone, Ramon Valle, El Periquin, Ernst Reijseger, renaissance vocal ensemble Cappella Pratensis, Serigne Gueye, Dinesh Mishra, Jorge Pardo and many others.