Starklinnemann Quintet, Vasilis Stefanopoulos, Paul Stark, Jonas Linnemann, Iman Spaargaren

Our Story

Since the foundation of the group in 2012 StarkLinnemann has gone through a lot of changes. Starting as a mainstream jazz trio doing corporate gigs they’re now progressed into the scene of fine arts by creating inspired compositions and recomposing complex pieces by great composers of the Romantic Age like Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt. They have collaborated with famous vocalists Denise Jannah (NL), Marjorie Barnes (USA), Deborah J.Carter (USA), Lilian Vieirra (BRA) And well-known Dutch instrumentalists Anton Goudsmit (guitar), Hermine Deurloo (harmonica), Dick de Graaf (tenor saxophone), Ilja Reijngoud (trombone), Gerard Kleijn (trumpet), Bert Lochs (trumpet), Bobby Jacobs (electric bass), Frits Landesbergen (vibraphone), Nils Fisher (conga’s) and Paul Berner (acoustic bass) among many others.

In addition they also represent StarkLinnemann as producers, promoters, (web) designers and educators. Their recorded work can be heard on two albums; Awake, and Transcending Chopin.

The story begins one night during the winter of 2009 at a jam session in Jazzclub Dizzy at Rotterdam (The Netherlands) where the two leaders of the band, Jonas Linnemann (drums) and Paul Stark (piano) meet for the first time. From the beginning both musicians feel a close connection. That’s why Jonas calls Paul for a commercial gig after which they decide to collaborate with the Holland Jazz Ensemble a trio led by the Dutch bassist Jules de Vlam.

With this group they do a lot of commercial work and from Spring 2011 they perform during a festival at Goedereede and in Het Diekhuus, a venue at Middelharnis (The Netherlands). December 2011 Jules leaves the band and after checking some other bassists Jonas and Paul decide to work with Vasilis Stefanopoulos, a very talented bass player from Greece. At that moment they establish the name StarkLinnemann. Meanwhile People can still book Holland Jazz Ensemble for commercial events but StarkLinnemann is aiming for another musical goal: fine art.

From January 2012 StarkLinnemann starts organizing concert series, first in the above-mentioned venue Het Diekhuus and after some time in other Dutch and German venues and theatres as well. These concert series are crucial for the band’s rapid development. Jonas and Paul get carte blanche considering the choice of special guests and musical style for each concert. With a mostly unchanged rhythm section they set strict requirements for performances at the highest level. Every concert is a new experience for the audience because they are listening to new bands in a various styles, settings and genres. Usually they work with the special guests’ repertoire but on some occasions they write arrangements themselves.

Among these occasions six turned out to be very successful:
  • Loub Orupaap international band, collaboration between a music and dance group from the youngest nation of the world: South Sudan.
  • Tribute to the Meters, a project dedicated to the music of the New Orleans funk band ‘The Meters’ full of funky stuff and blues with Guido Wilbers on guitar.
  • Sabor Cubano, Afro Cuban flavors with Nils Fisher (Nueva Manteca) on congas.
  • X-mas special with beautiful combinations of classical pieces and jazz arrangements connected to the Christmas topic,
  • Melting Pot, a collection of jazz standards bundled in multi-coloured Sonatas composed by Paul and
  • Tribute to Milton Banana, Brazilian samba’s and bossa nova’s dedicated to the late great Brazilian drummer Milton Banana. With the last mentioned project the band gives a smashing performance at the Breda Jazz Festival 2015!

After almost four years of steadily playing concerts in different styles and with varied special guests, the StarkLinnemann Trio has become an extreme flexible group that is able to accompany almost any artist in the jazz field. The list of jazz artists with whom they shared the bandstand is growing every year: Denise Jannah, Michael Simon, Hermine Deurloo, Peer de Graaf, Dick de Graaf, Adam Zuchowsky, Gerard Kleijn, Deborah J. Carter, Marjorie Barnes, Lilian Vieirra, Bert Lochs, Ilja Reijngoud, Bobby Jacobs, Frits Landesbergen, Marijn van der Linden, Nils Fisher, Remko de Landmeter, Anton Goudsmit, Han Slinger, Ana Beck, Stathis Eliotriviaris, Sandor Kem.

Obviously while playing concerts with diverse international jazz artists StarkLinnemann is creating their own style too. In September 2012 The StarkLinnemann Quintet with Dick de Graaf on tenor and Gerard Kleijn on trumpet is founded and just three months later the musicians travel to Gent (Belgium) to record their first album Awake with originals by Paul and Jonas. The Quintet plays concerts in Rotterdam, The Hague, Middelharnis and performs at the North Sea Jazz Round Town festival (July 2013) Easterjazz Festival in Nijmegen (April 2013).

At last mentioned festival Paul’s Sonata for Jazz Quintet is premièred. His fascination for recomposing the masterpieces of classical composers leads to a jazz version of Chopin’s Cello Sonata, written for jazz trio plus tenor saxophone. This piece is premièred with exceptional success at Het Diekhuus in April 2014, Dick de Graaf playing tenor. Some months later Jonas, Paul and Vasilis travel to Ludwigsburg (Germany) and record Transcending Chopin at the famous Bauer Studios on July 11th 2014. This album consisting of jazz trio versions of Chopin’s Polonaise opus 53, Nocturne opus 27, Mazurka opus 7 and Ballade opus 23 is about to be released.

Next to keeping regular appearances at various venues in the Netherlands StarkLinnemann is working on new original material that includes the adaptation of the Piano Sonata opus 58 by Frédéric Chopin, for jazz trio.

StarkLinnemann will keep on contributing to the creation of timeless art in the music business.