Han Bennink – The Most Passionate Drummer

Han Bennink was born on April, 17, 1942. He is one of the best drummers in the niche-specific realm of major-league jazz. There are very few drummers who can play their drums in this world as well as Han. Well, he may not be a very famous drummer like the others we have heard of. His abilities and interests, unfortunately, did not spin the entire music spectrum. 

However, Han Bennink is an excellent drummer with an absolute show of skills. He delivers solid timing, has a strong sense of the swing, and offers a clean technique. Han also presents the character of a free jazz virtuoso. His personality is so flexible that he can interact quickly and creatively with others in the team to create incredible music. He has a keen ear for timbral contrasts that enables him to create remarkable mixes. 

Han Bennink
han bennink

Han may be a good drummer, but it’s his general love for music that drives him. This passion compels him to go through any wall to achieve his goal of becoming a great jazz drummer. He plays continuum jazz with friends and band-members who understand his methods. Han Bennink started drumming at a very young age. His father was a classical percussionist, which explains his interest and love for the music world. 

Between 1962 and 1969, Han played as a backup for local American jazz legends, including Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, and Eric Dolphy. It was the ’60s that shaped his career as a great drummer. The drummer was so passionate about drums that he formed his quartet in 1963. It included pianist Mesh Mengelberg, and it played at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1966.  

He started playing free jazz with another musician from the mid-’60s – with Mengelberg and Willem Breuker. The trio started the Instant Composer’s Pool in 1967 as an NGO for promoting Dutch jazz. Han also started associations with saxophonist Peter Brotzmann, Derek Dailey, and Trumpeter Don Cherry, among other artists. He created a team that could shake the world of jazz music and changes the minds of many about the genre. 

Han was a leader, and a sideman on several sessions for FMP, Incus, and Soul Note labels between 1970 and 1980s. His contribution to Steve Lacy’s Herbie Nichols tribute album can never go unnoticed. That’s not all; he also worked on records with Regeneration, Mengelberg, bassist Kent Carter and Roswell Rudd (trombonist). 

Han At Laguardia High Photo By Michael Jackson
han at laguardia high photo by michael jackson

The drummer’s talents, charisma, and focus on success attracted others to follow in his footsteps. Han created the Clusone Trio in the late 1980s. It became his best performance vehicle since its creation as it helped him perform in different places. The team included cellist Ernst Reijseger and saxophonist Michael Moore

The team shared similar extraordinary musical passion, which made it easy to work together. Besides, they also enjoyed Han’s absurdist jokes. If there is any seriousness in the team, it comes from Bennick, with his rather whimsical theatricality. Han continues to create good music today and is an excellent influence on the younger generation.