Born and raised, physically and musically, in The Hague, Frank has played mainly as a bass player in a large number of bands. At first rock and new wave were the most attractive, but in the background the jazz he got from home was always present. Somewhere during his high school he writes his first songs for a cabaret group. This process of seeing “something new” come into being has always fascinated him and he has never stopped making “new things”.
Composing took a turn when he discovered the music of Charles Mingus. Mingus’ music is dynamic, rhythmically exciting, emotionally charged and always quirky.
Frank van Velthoven is somewhere in his early 20s when he can afford to buy his first double bass. His interest in the great musicians of jazz history only increased at that time. He receives double bass lessons from Dub du Bois for a while, to whom he has always remained grateful. In the late 1980s, he decided to drastically change his life; he stops his drinking and using. With a clear head he wants to reinvent the world, the music and himself. This is also the beginning of a spiritual search.
The busy The Hague is exchanged for the quiet Twente, where he discovers that the obvious connection with talented musicians, as he knew in The Hague, is missing. A long period follows in which he performs little, but composes all the more. During this time he writes, in addition to jazz compositions, a string quartet, a bass quartet, a piano solo, an ensemble piece and an orchestral piece. All idioms in which he initially does not feel at home, but which bring a lot of depth.
Eventually he moves to Zutphen where he reconnects with many good musicians. For years he plays in the monthly jazz jam session and is once again in great demand as an instrumentalist. Corona has disrupted the continuity of this, but during this period he can work on his album ‘Hotel Pema’ with which he can make part of his jazz compositions accessible for the first time.
Photo: Conor Horgan