Frank van Velthoven

Hotel Pema

Hotel Pema Velthoven cover

‘Pema’ is the name Frank received from one of his Buddhist teachers. In Himalayan countries, you will find many hotels and guesthouses with the name ‘Hotel Pema’.

For Frank, it refers to the temporary place where Pema lives; be it in a tired hotel room, in a European male body, or in the spirit of the music that has expressed his emotions through time.

This album features homegrown jazz, spiced up by flavours from Africa, Buddhist rituals and Arabic music, resulting in a truly global jazz feel.

Pema, your host, welcomes you and wishes you a pleasant stay.

‘Hotel Pema’ can be streamed as well as obtained as a physical CD through Bandcamp


Sahara Ripple

Caravan’s Journal

Saraha Ripple is the name of the collaboration of Chris Frieswijk and Frank van Velthoven. Chris plays hang drum and Frank plays soprano sax.

In 2018 Sahara Ripple released the album ‘Caravan’s Journal’. The title refers to being on the road, to the contemplations of an outsider, the detached and relaxed listener.

Improvising around fixed themes, a dreamy and rippling sound is created that evokes homesickness for places you may never have been.

Sahara Ripple cover Velthoven
THE album ‘Caravan’s Journal’ is released on CD and can be found on Spotify:

In 2018, Chris and Frank were traveling at the same time; Chris to Senegal, Frank to Nepal. They each made a video of what they saw around them and added it to the music of Sahara Ripple. During the corona era, this collaboration stopped, but a new one started: Maslo’s Equipe.

Chris in Senegal
Frank in Nepal

Frank van Velthoven

The Four Thoughts

The Four Thoughts Velthoven

The Four Thoughts is a string quartet composed by Frank van Velthoven, performed as a cello quartet by Quartet Cellowercken Zutphen conducted by Jeroen den Herder. 

The framework of ‘The Four Thoughts’ is inspired by an old Tibetan Buddhist text in which four thoughts are used to motivate a person to make use of this human existence to enhance spiritual growth.

The four parts of the piece are inspired by these ‘thoughts’:

  1. The special opportunity that a birth as a human offers
  2. The impermanence (of that special occasion)
  3. The law of cause and effect, and
  4. The disadvantages (suffering) of worldly existence.

An element from classical Indian music is used in the structure of the piece. In Indian music, the tanpura plays a drone tone throughout the piece for the melodies to relate to.

In this quartet, one note per part is designated to have this function, but this note is not assigned to a specific instrument and it can occur in several octaves. As a final rule, this tone should never be the root of the other melodic movements.

In summary, each of the four parts has one note that is heard throughout the whole part, but is so intertwined in the four voices that it does not stand out as a drone. This construction gives the piece its own character and the spiritual inspiration remains palpable throughout the composition.



This is a live recording by Quartet CelloWercken Zutphen, conducted by Jeroen den Herder. Cellos: Jeroen den Herder, Camelia Ciobanu, Lluïsa Paredes and Sari Šaciri.

Jackson & Van Velthoven

Colored Tongues

Coloured tongues Velthoven cover

‘Coloured Tongues’ is an album (2015) that combines the poetry of Ted Jackson with the improvised music of Frank.

Ted Jackson was an American painter and poet who had moved to Amsterdam. Ted and Frank had a 25+ year friendship that deepened when Ted generously gave away his tenor saxophone (Conn, ladyface) to Frank sometime in the early 2000s. “Consider it yours” is all he said about it. Frank still plays this sax to this day.

Ted passed away in 2019. He is missed by his family, his friends and his fellows.

The album ‘Coloured Tongues’ is a collection of the best recordings they made in three recording sessions in total. It was released on CD (in a very limited edition) and quickly sold out.

After Ted passed away, Frank re-released it on Spotify to keep Ted’s memory alive.

Ted gave his last collection of poems the motto: ‘Love is the only defense against death’. Later Frank dedicated his composition ‘The only defense’ to his friend.

Frank van Velthoven

Eight Meditations for soprano saxophone & tändkulemotorer

Eight Meditations Velthoven

Hearing the sound of the old motors used by Scandinavian fishermen during the early 1900’s as a source of musical information, Dutch jazz musician Frank van Velthoven improvises to the tone, rhythm and most of all to the spirit of the engines.

In some cases, the engines make the saxophone sound like a machine, but more often the sax makes the engine sound like a musical entity. In either case the results are intimate duets combining rusty, nearly forgotten engine sounds and fluid-like-salt-water soprano saxophone.

You can hear this project as a collection of single stroke pieces. It was recorded much like a Zen master painting a calligraphy. Responding, in one fresh moment to the sound of the ancient engines. It is for this reason that the duets bear their title ’Eight Meditations’.


Frank van Velthoven logo
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