Artist Info : http://www.janmenu.com
Saxophonist Jan Menu (1962) won the prestigious Dutch Loosdrecht Jazzconcours in 1989 and consequently, received the Wessel Ilcken Award. He was praised for his melodic approach, original phrasing and use of harmony and his strong musical personality. These aspects still are characteristic for his playing.
Though Menu stepped in the scene as a tenor- and baritone saxophonist, since a few years he concentrates on the latter, and is considered a leading player on the big horn. In his hands, the baritone, mostly a somewhat awkward instrument, sounds light and melodic.
With guitarist Maarten van der Grinten and bass player Jan Voogd, Jan Menu co-leads the chamber jazz trio DIG d’DIZ, for almost 20 years. DIG d’DIZ is considered one of Holland’s most interesting groups, combining traditional and avant-garde jazz with a wide range of musical influences in a chamber music-like setting. Compositions originate from almost anything, and take shape by improvising. The trio played and recorded with the Mondriaan String Quartet, a combination underlining the unique style of DIG d’DIZ: contemporary chamber music with jazz roots.
In 1999 the trio recorded with the Metropole Orchestra, conducted by Vince Mendoza. 2007-2008 DIG d’DIZ toured The Netherlands with singer-actor Frank Groothof in an opera for children and adults, based on Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.
DIG d’DIZ recorded three highly acclaimed cd’s,: ONE (1991), DIG d’DIZ meets the Mondriaan String Quartet (1997) and DIG d’DIZ ONE TOO (2009, with live DVD).
As a member of Dutch leading singer Greetje Kauffeld’s trio, Jan Menu toured Europe and the United States, and recorded three CD’s.
For 11 years Menu was a member of the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw.
He worked with a.o. Jesse van Ruller, Pierre Courbois, Willem Breuker, Loek Dikker, en Gary Smulyan. Other notable performances include the Mingus Big Band European tour 1994.
He has been a member of Laura Fygi’s band for the past 13 years, and has intensively toured and recorded with this internationally acclaimed vocalist.
In 2005 Jan participated in Fay Claassen’s successful project Two Portraits of Chet Baker, as baritone saxophonist, as well as co-producer and arranger. The double CD as well as the concerts have been very well received internationally, especially in the U.S. and Japan.
In December 2008 his first cd as a leader, titled Mulligan Moods with a.o. Jesse van Ruller, was released in Japan and The Netherlands. On this cd Menu renders his vision of known and less well-known compositions by Gerry Mulligan.