Born in 1947, Hollander Jasper van’t Hof is one of the best known jazz pianists and keyboardists in Europe. Van’t Hof first made a name for his work with guitarist Toto Blanke, and went on to form Porkpie with jazz greats Charlie Mariano, Jean-Franois Jenny Clark, and Aldo Romano. Jasper has recorded with such major names as Archie Shepp, Steve Swallow, and Steve Kühn. He is especially noted for his solo piano work and his highly successful world music group Pili Pili. With its Euro-African mix of jazz, rock, and pop, the group has been a mainstay on the World Music scene from its founding in 1985 through the present, and has been a stepping-stone for the careers of such African pop icons as Angélique Kidjo.
Co-led and produced by the influential Swiss keyboardist-composer George Gruntz (1932-2013), Fairytale takes us on a journey through a fantastical musical landscape. A 21-piece brass band and leading European-based musicians enliven this whimsical escapade of six van’t Hof and two Gruntz compositions. Highlights include Gruntz’s Cinderella Friday Night with its funky bass line, hip counterpoint and intermingling of jazz and rock. Filomeel and Procne brings the age of classic romanticism back and feature Jasper’s emotive acoustic piano solo; the piece refers to the dark Greek myth of rape, infanticide, and cannibalism. The story continues as the two sisters are transformed into a Swallow and Nightingale. Jasper continues on piano with a high-flying solo. The Rat Catcher is a quirky piece with a loping-looping bass line and the brass taking staccato jabs at the synth. 1001 Night has the synth running chromatic lines into a horn orchestration that could be out of a Fellini film. Challenging, beautiful arrangements, unusual instrumentation, and great solos make for a richer Fairytale than Disney could ever imagine.