Oscar Jan Hoogland is the sound of Amsterdam in person. He plays in the Muziekgebouw (Amsterdams main hall for modern composed music) as well as in the Bimhuis (Holland’s main jazz venue) that is literally attached to it, as in its parking garage. He is an instant composer, pianist and inventor of his own instrument by putting a clavichord, a keyboard instrument from the 17th century, on 220 Volt electricity.
As the last student of the late pianist, composer and improvisor Misha Mengelberg he tears like a tornado through the Amsterdam jazz and impro scene, plays with legends like Han Bennink, organizes concerts, ad hoc theatre and performances in all holes and corners of Amsterdam, and recently he curated the celebration of 45 years of Bimhuis.
Oscar Jan grew up in the Jordaan, an old neighborhood in Amsterdam’s city centre, between the forte piano’s owned by his father famous classical pianist Stanley Hoogland. As a teenager at the beginning of this century he jumped over the classical music and dived straight into the local impro and indie rock scenes, and that’s how he ended up, at age sixteen, at a festival in Paradiso where he saw Zea play. He could not believe his eyes when he saw Arnold de Boer, singer and guitarist of Zea, the next morning as his new teacher “Maatschappijleer” (Society class).
Arnold de Boer moved in the early nineties from the Frisian village called Makkum to Amsterdam to study and to be able to see a concert every night. At the local drumband and harmony orchestra Hallelujah Makkum he learned to play drums and trumpet, but once in Amsterdam he switched to guitar and started his own band Zea.
The headstrong mix of jumpy indie rock, beat punk, sample pop, noise and lo-fi dub got picked up far outside the lowlands and since the release of Zea’s debut album ‘Kowtow to an idiot’ Zea tours all over the world.
Arnold sings in Dutch experimental/punk band The Ex and gets highly involved in organizing concert nights and festivals in Amsterdam including a monthly night at the Paradiso, called K-tsjoem, and many nights at local DIY venue OCCII, where he becomes very active and part of the collective. For the K-tsjoem night at the Paradiso Arnold invites Oscar Jan to come and play with his new band. It’s the beginning of a series of invitations back and forth, between indie and impro, that still continues and that resulted in recording the album by Zea + Oscar Jan Hoogland, called Summing.
A hypnotic groove under a playful song next to an arabic melody on an improvised sound collage; the music is build with independent parts, all recorded in one take. The songs are percussive and move on the polyrhythms of two parallel switched turbines. On the cover of the album you see a drawing by Amsterdam cartoonist René Windig.
At the back of the album you see Zea and Oscar Jan Hoogland live in the north of Ghana; it’s the image of a duo that dug itself up from the future and dives headfirst into the world.