Eric Vloeimans (1963) is an improvising trumpeter and composer who considers the term ‘jazz’ as far too limiting for his music. His work is characterized by a melodic and lyrical force and a distinctive, individual sound, which may be called velvety or whispering in his more subdued pieces. In his compositions he manages to combine beauty and adventure. His motto is: ‘I make music for the millions, but I haven’t been able to reach all of them yet.’ In attempting to do so, however, he never compromises and always is his own man.
Vloeimans studied at the Rotterdam Conservatory; originally in the classical department, later at the jazz course. In the US, he studied with Donald Byrd and was a member of Frank Foster and Mercer Ellington’s big bands.
In the early 1990s Vloeimans was considered part of a generation of young musicians who combined bebop with influences from rock and typically Dutch improv. He soon started developing his own, unmistakable sound and style. He has been leading bands from the get-go and made his debut recording as the leader of his own Quartet in 1991 (No Realistics). In 2006 this group is succeeded by the chamber jazz trio Fugimundi (with pianist Harmen Fraanje and guitarist Anton Goudsmit)
In 2007 Eric Vloeimans starts his electric band Gatecrash, in which funk and rock elements are added to the musical mix (it features Jeroen van Vliet on keyboards, Gulli Gudmundsson on electric bass and Jasper van Hulten on drums). It is often referred to as the Dutchman’s original view on ‘electric Miles’. In the meantime, he keeps developing new projects, like the ensemble Oliver’s Cinema with accordionist Tuur Florizoone and cellist Jörg Brinkmann. Vloeimans’s compositions for this trio can be described as ‘soundtracks for imaginary films’. He regularly performs as a duo with the German pianist Florian Weber, with whom he released the CD Live at the Concertgebouw in 2011.
Over the years he has entered into regular and occasional musical relationships with like-minded musicians, both from at home and abroad. The album Bitches and Fairy Tales, featuring pianist John Taylor, bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joey Baron, gained him an Edison (the Dutch equivalent of a Grammy) in 1998. His international resume reads like a regular Who’s Who of contemporary jazz, with such luminaries as guitarist Nguyên Lê, electric bassist Jimmy Haslip, drummer Peter Erskine and pianist Jarmo Savolainen.
In 2001 Vloeimans is awarded the Boy Edgar Prize (the major Dutch jazz award) and in 2002 the North Sea Jazz Festival’s Bird Award. The CDs VoizNoiz 3 (with Michel Banabila, 2003) Summersault (with Fugimundi, 2006) and Gatecrashin’ (with Gatecrash, 2007) earn him Edisons once again.
Evidencing his broad scope of musical interests, Vloeimans has collaborated with artists from other musical worlds, too. He worked with pop artists and bands like singer and multi-instrumentalist Fay Lovsky, Doe Maar, Spinvis, guitarist Jan Akkerman and trumpeter Kyteman (Colin Benders). Kytecrash, the combination of the latter’s hip hop band and Gatecrash, produced successful live shows as well as an eponymous album, in 2011.
In the world music field Vloeimans was involved in collaborations featuring flamenco guitarist Eric Vaarzon Morel, Latin jazz pianist Ramón Valle and singer/guitarist Fernando Lameirinhas’s fado inspired project Pessoa.
As a soloist, Vloeimans performed with classical ensembles like the Matangi String Quartet, the Calefax Reed Quintet, the Metropole Orchestra, Holland Baroque and various Dutch symphony orchestras, including the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
In 2011, his first self-penned trumpet concerto, Evensong, orchestrated by Martin Fondse, was premiered by the Limburg Symphony Orchestra. It was later recorded for CD release with the Dutch Symphony Orchestra. Eric Vloeimans acted as the artistic director of the Dutch Youth Jazz Orchestra in 2013. In 2014 he performed at the King’s Concert for the Dutch King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima, and did a 15-venue concert tour of the US with Oliver's Cinema. In the 2015/2016 season Eric Vloeimans toured Europe with harpist Remy van Kesteren. In 2018 there was a Dutch tour with the Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, resulting in the presentation of their album Levanter. Later in the same year he toured extensively with the Argentine pianist Juan Pablo Dobal. Their duo CD Viento Zonda received rave reviews.
In November 2015 Vloeimans published his play-along book Horn of Plenty (V-Flow edition); the second volume of the book followed in November 2019. He regularly coaches big bands, symphonic wind bands and brass bands, and is active as a conductor, arranger and composer. In 2016, 2017 and 2018 he was invited to teach at the famous summer school in Dartington, England.
The Fall of 2019 saw him touring with Oliver's Cinema again, and in the Spring of 2020 he will be on the road with Gatecrash. In addition, there will be performances with the symphony orchestra Zeeuws Orkest, with various symphonic wind bands and brass bands, as well as with the funky big band Licks & Brains.
Over the years Eric Vloeimans has become a household name on Dutch television. He is a regular guest on the daily talk show De Wereld Draait Door and was featured in many music, culture and entertainment programs. It all bears witness to his famous motto statement quoted above.
Eric Vloeimans plays a Hub van Laar trumpet.