The Kenny Colombo Combo (photo by Bas Uterwijk)
Composition, Olaf Zwetsloot; Bubblegum Girl, Rosealia Skydiver; musicians: Thomas Winther Andersen (acoustic bass), Timothy Segond von Banchet (keyboard), Clarence Becton (drums), and Olaf Zwetsloot (alto saxophone).
Director/Director of Photography, Boris de Ruijter; video production, Boris de Ruijter and Olaf Zwetsloot; audio recording, Bartosz Marek Sztandar and Marco Verdi (SAE Amsterdam); mixing, Thijs Borsten; audio production and creative direction, Olaf Zwetsloot.
Her Amsterdam: Bubblegum Girl Rosealia Skydiver
IF JAZZ MUSIC videos are almost nonexistent, “Bubblegum Girl” by The Kenny Colombo Combo, is an exception to that rule. The video was directed by the young Dutch camera man and director Boris de Ruijter and recorded at the Bimhuis, an internationally renowned jazz venue in Amsterdam. The video is a poetical documentary portrait of the city of Amsterdam, as seen through the eyes of a young and naïve, bubblegum chewing girl. “Bubblegum Girl” pays homage to photographer Ed van der Elsken's 1982 movie, My Amsterdam.
A CHAT WITH SAXOPHONIST OLAF ZWETSLOOT
CLASSICAL TV: Can you tell us a little about the combo—how you and your fellow musicians cam together and what your approach to your music is? What inspires you and how do you describe the kind of jazz you play?
OLAF ZWETSLOOT: The Kenny Colombo Combo is a hard-swinging jazz band that works out of Amsterdam. The band is a leader in its genre in The Netherlands and comprises three generations (age 24 to 78) of top-notch musicians from the U.S., Norway and The Netherlands, between whom no musical generation gap exists. The band’s drummer, Clarence Becton, has played with the likes of Thelonious Monk, Woody Shaw, Lee Konitz and Joe Henderson, to name a few. The Combo plays a mix of jazz standards and original repertoire written mainly by myself, and the band's musical influences range from R&B, funk and bebop. My own composing is influenced by, amongst others, Thelonious Monk, Woody Shaw, Kraftwerk, The Neptunes, Steve Coleman and Steve Reich.
CTV: How did “Bubblegum Girl” come about—both the music and the video? Can you describe how you worked with director Boris de Ruijter to achieve the look and feel you wanted?
OZ: I got the idea for the song from a few simple lines that came up during practice, which I recorded on my mobile phone in order not to forget them. Then I started looking for chords and rhythms that would bring the melody out. In my mind I had the image of a young girl from the hood that would constantly blow intensely pink bubbles while fiddling around with her mobile. It's the kind of atmosphere I associate with Vanessa Marquez' “Good Girl,” a song from the album Clones by the Neptunes. This atmosphere is very specific and I also remember it from when I grew up between the grey monolithic blocks of an Amsterdam suburb called Bijlmermeer, although we had no mobile phones back then.
Concerning the making of the video, I just thought “If pop musicians make music videos all the time, why wouldn’t jazz musicians do the same?” Let's also not forget that a video is a promotional tool. We want to be seen, we want people to listen to our music and we want to get booked. It's that simple. So I sat down with Boris de Ruijter, the director and D.O.P. of “Bubblegum Girl,” to think of a concept that would give us a high production value in a simple way. Boris came up with the idea to pay tribute to Ed van der Elsken’s documentary My Amsterdam. This angle allowed us to make a portrait of Amsterdam, while bringing our heroine, Bubblegum Girl, to the forefront. We also decided to do the video in black and white, which gives it a sort of timeless, classical feel. Doing the whole thing in color would have meant color correcting it. And given the differences in daylight during the shoot, this would have cost us a lot more time and money.
CTV: Who is the Bubblegum Girl in the video??
OZ: The girl in the video is called Rosealia Skydiver and she's actually the girlfriend of Timothy Segond von Banchet, our pianist. I wanted to work with her because of her Alice in Wonderland-like quality, a certain naïveté and spontaneity that I thought would work well.
Olaf Zwetsloot, saxophonist and founder of the Kenny Colombo Combo
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