The main purpose of the conference held by Prof. Eric Ineke (Royal Conservatory at The Hague) at Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa in November 5th, 2019, was to discuss and share material on the impact of drummer Mel Lewis (1929-1990) in the context of the history of jazz.
According to Prof. Ineke: “his contribution to the music was the fact that he was able to create a small combo feel within the context of a big band. There was always interaction with the solists and the rhythm section, like a small combo, which was not common before in big bands like Count Basie, Woody Herman and Duke Ellington’’.
Keywords: Mel Lewis, drums, swing, big band, jazz
Eric Ineke (born Haarlem, April 1, 1947) is a Dutch jazz drummer who started his career in the 1960s. After a few years of lessons of John Engels, he gained his first experience as jazzdrummer with singer Henny Vonk and tenorsaxophonist Ferdinand Povel. Thanks to Pim Jacobs, Ruud Jacobs, Wim Overgaauw, Rita Reys and Piet Noordijk, Eric became well known in the jazz scene. In 1969 he made his first record with tenor saxophonist Ferdinand Povel and through the years he has played with the Rob Agerbeek Quintet and trio, the Rein de Graaff/Dick Vennik Quartet, the Ben van den Dungen/Jarmo Hoogendijk Quintet and the Piet Noordijk Quartet. During his career he has also played with numerous international, mainly American soloists like Hank Mobley, Phil Woods, Lucky Thompson, Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin, George Coleman, Shirley Horn, Dizzy Gillespie, Al Cohn, Grant Stewart, Jimmy Raney, Barry Harris, Eric Alexander and Dave Liebman, recorded numerous CD's and appeared at many national and international jazz festivals (North Sea Jazz Festival, Nice Jazz Festival, Pescara Jazz, San Remo, Athens, Toronto Jazz Festival, Montreal International Jazz Festival and New York). For more than 40 years he has been the drummer of the Rein de Graaff Trio and since 2006 has led the Eric Ineke JazzXpress, a quintet in the hard-bop tradition. With this quintet, Ineke got invited in 2011 by the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City with jazz singer Deborah Brown where they did a few performances, including one on Kansas Public Radio and a CD recording produced by Bobby Watson. In October 2016, the JazzXpress presented its latest album Dexternity on the Dutch television in "Vrije Geluiden" of the VPRO.
Ineke also teaches at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. Ineke is giving masterclasses all around the world. In April 2012 he released his first book The Ultimate Sideman, in conversation with Dave Liebman.