(Photo: Davide Piras)
Blessed with a velvet upstroke, Kuuk Griep played at the age of six a composition by Dolf Helman- who was then the concert master of the Dutch Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra- on a quarter violin, honouring his mother's birthday. Three years later, due to a car accident, a possible career as a violonist came to an end.
Although raised in a family that preferred classical and church music, Kuuk fell in love
with dixieland and gipsy music. At the age of twelf he built himself a bass violin, in fact it was no more than a big wooden tea box with only one string....and played along with the records of the Dutch Swing College Band, listnening especially to his idol Bob van Oven. At the same time he got interested in percussion and manufactured by himself a drum kit that he perfected by adding parts and fine tuning it (this tuning addiction never stopped)
to become a real drum kit. Because the school band already had a bass player and
needed a drummer, he therefore switched to drums.
Without realizing it, his drum style was influenced by "De Haagse School" (a style played by most drummers in The Hague) and later on also by the more modern John Engels and all
those "wonder men" that, for the first time, were put on stage by Norman Granz, Lou van Rees and Paul Acket at the Concertgebouw in the fifties.
In the summer of 1957 Kuuk auditioned for the then already famous band the New Orleans Syncopators. Klaas Wit (tr) and Henk Mulder (bjo) recognized his potential, Kuuk was hired and stayed for seventeen years of joyful gigging and doing concerts with this band, led by Jan Burgers. Later on, Bob van Oven, one of his idols mentioned earlyer, joined this band together with Wybe Buma (ex DSC) plus George and Frits Kaatee (now DSC members). They scored a mondial hit with the single "Midnight in Moscow", were chosen to welcome Louis Armstrong at Schiphol Airport, performed with Mezz Mezzrow, Mugsy Spanier and Nelson Williams.
Diana Ross, then the lead singer of the Suppremes, complimented the band personally at the biggest Dutch record event: The Grand Gala Du Disque.
When, in 1975, Richard Endlich started the Revival Jass Band, KG (Kuuk Griep)
was invited to become the drummer. Now, thirty years later, he is still playing with this band that was invited to important festivals like the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, the North
Sea Jazz Festival in the Hague, the Golden Washboard Festival in Warsaw, and the Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans. The band also performed in Ecuador, Angola, Bulgaria, Greece etc. In the eighties he went on tour with the Revival Jass Band to the USSR for more than 3 weeks. In 2005 St. Petersburg (former Leningrad) was revisited.
This list is in fact much longer and the stories could fill a bookshelf easily, featuring: Cees, Richard, Max, Eric, Jan, Bas, Frans, Jilt, Dick, Ray, Sjoerd.....a rich variety of musical friends and wonderful instrumentalists, sharing the same goal:
making wonderful swinging music and having fun..because its keeps them young!
Click on the flag for a Dutch version