Michael Varekamp


‘Michael Varekamp has an astonishing sound and beautiful phrasing to the honor and glory of jazz’

Le Monde

‘A dazzling lexicon of Jazz Trumpet playing. It would be interesting to watch his road to the Jazzhall of Fame’ 

Wales Evening Post

‘Varekamp speelt net zo grenzeloos als Armstrong’

NRC Handelsblad




1968 Born in Rotterdam from Trindad origin.
1978 Listens to Louis Armstrong Live at Town Hall and picks up the trumpet.
1981 First performances around The Netherlands.
1990 Studies at the Royal Conservatory The Hague with Ack van Rooijen a.o. First performance at the North Sea Jazz Festival.

Works with jazzmasters such as Lalo Shifrin, Conte & Pete Candoli, Dee Daniels, Benny Carter and Barry Harris.

1993 Fra Fra Sound & Big Band

Travels to Cuba, South Africa, Tunisia, Malta.

The Journey's are a source of inspiration, so are the masterclasses he gives during the tours. Many recordings for records, radio & TV. Performances at Havanna Jazz Festival and North Sea Jazz Festival.

1995 Dutch Swing College Band

Travels to South Africa, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Scandinavia.

Many performances at major festivals and venues. Recordings for records, radio & TV.

1996 Besides traveling and playing, Michael is hosting a Live Jazz Show on the radio with Holland's Deputy Prime Minister Hans Dijkstal. The program will last untill 2008 and appears yearly at the North Sea Jazz Festival where they perform with jazzgreats such as Michael & Randy Brecker, Ricky Lee Jones, Mc Coy Tyner, Joe Zawinul and Louis Belson during marathons of live jazz radio broadcastings.
1997 Michael graduates cum laude at the Royal Conservatory as Teaching and Performing Musician.
1998 Honors Duke Ellington with DSC. The album 'Live at the North Sea Jazz Festival' appears. Tours with Fra Fra Big Band with David Murray and Lester Brown.
1999 Studies in New York City with Brian Lynch a.o. Presentation of the cd 'Best of Jazz on West'. Appearance of the cd 'Harlem Strut' with the Masters of Swing.
2000 Tours widely with his project, The Louis Armstrong Story with Scott Hamilton and Deborah J. Carter. The show is well received. Commitment as a regular guest teacher at the Royal Conservatory, Hanze Hogeschool and Codarts Rotterdam. Performance at the Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam as guest solist with Louis van Dijk. Appearance of the cd 'Dear Louis'.
2001 Receives the Kobe Awards for outstanding talent. Travels to Kobe & Tokyo, Japan to perform. Works with Dee Daniels, Philip Harper, Wendell Brunious and others.
2002 In succes of the Louis Armstrong Story, he tours for two years widely with his project The Legends of Jazz to honor Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald.
2003 Michael Varekamp Quintet performs extensively the Miles Davis Tribute around Holland in collaboration with Jazz Impulse.

Michael Varekamp Quartet tours Israël.

Little Louis sees the light. It's an innovative jazz program for kids. With Fra Fra in Mali and Burkina Fasso. Performances with Tounani Diabete and works with Harvey Wirth and Richard Howell.

2005 Studies Indian raga's in Bombay with Nitjianan Haldipur. Recording with the ground breaking group How2Be Enlightend in 24 Hours? One of the first groups to mix jazz & raga's. Member of the jury for the Erasmus Jazz Prijs.
2006 Starts the organisation Pure Jazz, a multi media Jazz Festival focused on world premieres and new artists world wide. Writes in commision the ballet score 'Jeuk' in TahS, The Hague. Tours the United States with Deborah Brown as special guest. Presentation of cd 'Up in the Basement' with The Cosmic Scene, wich reflects the ballet scores.
 2007 Pure Jazz does special projects on Jazz & Poetry and Jazz & Hip Hop. Initiaton of Urban Roots (Jazz meets Hip Hop), Art Blakey Tribute (with Ralph Peterson) and The Trumpack (with Philip Harper). Writes second extended ballet score 'Grip' and tours extensively.
2008 Conservator in Korzo Theatre, The Hague. Writes Tutu's People in commision for a special ceremony with Desmond Tutu. Radio productions for NPS.
2009 Cooperation with Jazzmobile and United Jazz International. Invitation Dizzy's Club Coca Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, NYC. Performances with Oleta Adams, Don Braden, M Nahdr and Ralph Peterson a.o. Artist in Residence, Prague.
2010 Billie Taylor's Jazzmobile invitation for Birdland New York and summer coincerts during the Harlem Jazz Festival. Premiere of the Obama Suite. An extended work for jazz quintet & film, dedicated to Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama. World premiere at Pure Jazz The Hague. Performance and masterclass at Mann's Center of Arts in Philadelphia. Presentation of duo cd Sehnsucht.
2011 Michael is one of the founding fathers and artistic director of the Hans Dijkstal Stichting. Cooperation with The Hague Jazz and performances in New York with Cristian Amigo, Helen Sung, Boris Kozlov, Dion Parson a.o. Plays for a week with Toneelgroep Amsterdam in London Barbican Theatre. Tours to Lithuania and New York City to perform at Birdland, at New London with the Louis Armstrong Celebration and performing Little Louis at schools in Harlem and The Bronx.
2012 Plays with Toneelgroep Oostpool a special part in A Streetcar Named Desire though The Netherlands. Travels to Israël and throughout Europe.
2013 Performer, writer and musical leader for the project Avondland by Sjoerd Pleijsier. Extended European tour as a member of the Sonny Fortune Quintet, who worked with Miles Davis. Performances in Paris, Vienna, Athens, Bruxelles, Frankfurt, Klagenfurt, Amsterdam and more. Masterclasses at the conservatories of Groningen and The Hague
2014 Appearance of the new cd 'Dutch Jazz Legends feat. Michael Varekamp' in Japan. Several tours, as a solist to Israël and as a member of the Sonny Fortune Quintet to Scandinavia. Live TV recordings for Mezzo TV, to release and broadcast by the end of 2014. Start of the production of the documentary 'New Orleans aan de Schelde', written and produced by Michael Varekamp. Lots of media appearances to talk and play about the Miles Davis project Miles!
2015 Currently, the tour Miles! (music, movies & spoken word) has started in october 2014 and already is prolonged for next season, along with a brand new show Louis! (premiere scheduled for april 2016). The movie Brabançonne (Eyeworks) premiered in Antwerp. Michael plays a veteran jazz musician and wrote music for this film, directed by Vincent Bal ('Minoes').
2016 The show ‘Louis! What a wonderful world’ premiered successfully. Louis! toured twice around the country and also travelled abroad to Bali for a series of concerts. He also started a serie of concerts in Muzee, The Hague. This series combines film, live jazz and anekdotes. Varekamp created his ‘public livingroom’ here. He posed that year for world known photographer Michael Weintrob and appeared several times in De Wereld Draait Door on television.
2017 The shows I’m a Soulman with The Legends and MilesRocks toured through the country. Michael composed music for De Dansende Madonna, a play directed by Annemarie de Buijn and Hans vd Boom about Piet Mondriaan. The show was played for six weeks. He also played with Branford Marsalis that year in a special program dedicated to Sydney Bechet. New series is started in Gemeente Museum in The Hague and the Stedelijke Museum Breda.
Guest teacher in Artez Zwolle. The I’m a Soulman Tour is ended with a sold out concert in Paradiso Amsterdam.
2018 Premiere of the new theatre show Billie! with Joy Wielkens and The Legends. Recording of a new cd for Christmas. Composed in commission a ‘De herdenkingssuite’ for the National Theatre. TVWest made a special about it. Several appearances for Omroep Max, amongst others with a Tribute To Duke Ellington. Trip as special guest star to the New Orleans Festival Tel Aviv with the Dutch Swing College Band. In oktober the CD ‘Elektra’ will appear.


Appearances on TV & Radio and in Newspapers




Interviews & Performances


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