name Martijn Schok is synonymous with boogie woogie and piano blues. Martijn
has played many European jazz and blues festivals and can be seen regularly
at festivals in the USA.
Martijn performs solo, as well as with his swinging 5- to 7- piece band,
and has up till now released sixteen successful boogie woogie CDs. Also,
Martijn can be heard on many CDs as a guest boogie woogie or blues piano
Martijn received the German Pinetop Boogie Woogie Award "Pianist
Of The Year" 2013/2014".
Martijn's piano style is characterized by a large dose of swing, a steady
groove and a high degree of virtuosity. It is clear he has a great deal
of admiration for the music of the early American boogie woogie originators.
is a respected interpreter of the boogie woogie style and appears at famous
international festivals, such as the festival in New Orleans (Louisiana,
USA), the Queen City Blues Festival in Cincinnati (Ohio, USA), the
Motor City Boogie & Blues Festival in Detroit (Michigan, USA), Blues
Passions in France, and the international boogie woogie festivals in Switzerland,
Belgium, France, Italy, England, Spain and the USA.
Besides his performing qualities, Martijn is the Artistic Director and
founder of the Heineken International Boogie & Blues Festival Holland
that takes place annually in Golden Tulip Hotel Heerlickheijd van Ermelo,
in the center of Holland.
Martijn Schok (born in 1974 in Arnhem) was first introduced to boogie
woogie at the age of fifteen during a jazz festival in Arnhem (Holland)
and was immediately grabbed by the unmistakable sound and swing of this
piano style. Boogie woogie is lively dance music with a good swing and
a high degree of improvisation. These were the main reasons for Martijn
to stop his classical piano studies, which he had been following for eight
years, and focus entirely on boogie woogie. Rather than taking lessons,
he decided to teach himself this individual style of jazz piano.
During his search for recordings of the original American boogie woogie
artists, Martijn met one of Europe's greatest authorities and collectors
on the style, Martin van Olderen in 1991. With his gigantic collection
of boogie woogie records, his enthusiasm and his belief in Martijn's talent,
he was a major factor in his early musical development. Spending hour
after hour studying historical recordings from the early days of boogie
woogie, Martijn soon became one of the most prominent Dutch exponents
of the genre.
In 1995, Martijn was signed by Munich Records and produced his first CD,
entitled 'Boogie Woogie Adventures'. The album was released on the specialized
Oldie Blues label, which has released recordings of practically all the
great American legends in this style, including not only Martijn's own
personal favorites Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson, Meade Lux Lewis and Jimmy
Yancey, but also such giants as Blind John Davis, Lloyd Glenn and Champion
Jack Dupree. Events accelerated after the release of Martijn's debut CD.
Various performances followed and Martijn began to make a name for himself
in the Dutch boogie woogie scene.
From 1992 to 1997, Martijn studied law and economics at the University
of Utrecht, going on to specialize in copyright law at the University
of Amsterdam in 1998. Even before graduating, Martijn had four CD releases
to his name and had already appeared at the famous North Sea Jazz Festival
in Holland, the biggest indoor jazz festival in the world.
In 1994, Martijn founded the 'Martijn Schok Boogie Woogie Trio' (piano,
drums and upright bass). Since then, the trio has become much in demand
at jazz and blues festivals both in the Netherlands and internationally.
April 1999, the trio played during the festival in New Orleans, Louisiana,
USA. Several Boogie Woogie CDs were recorded with the trio.
In 2000, Martijn was invited to take part in the hit Dutch theatre show
'Grand Piano Boogie Train'. With the basic concept of three pianists and
two concert grands, the show has been successfully running since 1995.
Martijn joined the Boogie Train in 2001, after the death of Dutch boogie
woogie pianist Rob Hoeke. It was there that he met singer Greta Holtrop,
who also presents the show, since when their relationship as a duo has
blossomed both musically and romantically. Two CDs of the show have been
In 2003, Martijn founded the Martijn Schok Boogie & Blues Band. The
other band members are singer Greta Holtrop and Dutch top tenor saxophone
player Rinus Groeneveld, accompanied by Maarten Kruijswijk on drums and
Sergei Shapko on upright bass.
In 2003, Martijn also founded the Boogie Promotions Holland Foundation.
This foundation, with Martijn as Chairman, is entirely dedicated to the
promotion of Boogie Woogie and Piano Blues in The Netherlands. The foundation
organizes the succesful annual International Boogie Woogie Festival Holland.
Every year this festival is visited by 1,000 people. The foundation also
organizes an annual Steamtrain Journey with 5 piano players aboard. Just
take a look at the festival website www.boogiefestival.nl
for al the information on the foundation and its events.
In 2005, Martijn Schok and the legendary blues and boogie woogie pianist
and singer Little Willie Littlefield (Houston, Texas, USA) started a musical
cooperation untill Littlefield's recent death in 2013. Together they presented
a swinging program with Boogie Woogie, Blues, Rhythm 'n Blues and Jazz.
In 2007, Martijn played solo during the Boogie Woogie festival in Newport,
Martijn has played with many other international boogie woogie pianists,
including Big Joe Duskin (USA), Bob Seeley (USA), Axel Zwingenberger (D),
Jean-Pierre Bertrand (F), Jean-Paul Amouroux (F), Mark Braun (USA), Little
Willie Littlefield (USA), Ann Rabson (USA), Caroline Dahl (USA), Carl
Sonny Leyland (USA), Charlie Booty (USA), Liz Pennock & Dr. Blues
(USA), Kenny Wayne (USA), Stefano Franco (It), Ricky Nye (USA), Al Copley
(USA), Christian Rannenberg (D), Jörg Hegeman (D), Michael Kaeshammer
(CAN) and Silvan Zingg (CH). He has also performed with the Dutch boogie
woogie pioneers Jaap Dekker, Hein van der Gaag, Rob Hoeke and Rob Agerbeek.
To quote Martijn: 'I consider it a great privilege to be able to share
my favorite music with my audience. It is wonderful to see that more than
a hundred years after its birth, boogie woogie still appeals to people
and that a widening public is coming to appreciate this fantastic style
in Newport, Kentucky, USA
Photo: Mike Boland