‘Steven Kamperman is a fantastic jazz saxophonist, finding inspiration in world music, while at the same time giving it his own clear direction.’  Moors Magazine, 2007

‘Steven Kamperman played a virtuoso set, as free as a bird’ Peter van Amstel, MixedMagazine, 2009

‘Reed player Steven Kamperman magnified the madness behind the words with exuberant improvisations, that always landed nicely on their oriental feet again.’ Saskia Törnqvist, Het Parool, 2010

‘Steven Kamperman was visibly and audibly in a great mood. This is his thing, and he does it with passion. He wrote catchy compositions and arranged con amore some pieces by Valentin Clastrier. An original and surprising concert, and Kamperman cum suis showed again that world and jazz can blend harmoniously, and can indeed lead to surprising new music.’ Cees van de Ven, Draai om je oren, 2007

Steven Kamperman shows such an amazing ability to adapt exotic clarinet styles, that he could easily be mistaken for a Turkish gypsy.’ Frans van Leeuwen, NRC, 2008

‘Altoist Steven Kamperman caught everybody’s attention with a fantastic solo, very expressive, melodious and passionated’ Jacques Los, Draai om je oren, june 2008

‘A concert of Baraná belongs to the curiculum of every music lover with only the smallest liking for adventure’ Moors Magazine

‘Saxophonist Steven Kamperman – who really deserves wider recognition – stood out with a more than excellent solo. He has a beautiful warm sound, en plays extremely melodious lines’ Jacques Los, Draai om je oren, september 2006

‘Kamperman moves in a stimulating way between intelligent abstractionism and melodious lyricism.’ Frank van Herk, De Volkskrant 2002


Selection of entire reviews


Baraná & Ceylan Ertem, Xenopolis *****

Warmblooded and breathtaking

“Why would it not be possible to reach a younger audience with world music, wondered Steven Kamperman and Behsat Üvez. So they decided for the next incarnation of their group Baraná to look for musicians that could be of assistance.

Sampled loops and beats formed the starting point for a series of compositions with Istanbul as binding motif. This metropole symbolizes for both men a crossroads between tradition and modernity, where East meets West. But there is no case of false romanticism here, because also the decision by the city government to order the destruction of the gypsy quarter Sulukule is brought to a piece.

The project Xenopolis with wich Baraná is now touring the country, is characterized by contemporary and danceable grooves, but with an insidious undercurrent of rhythmic complexity. For example, Sebastian Demydczuk presented an impressive drum solo in nine-eight, assisted by Üvez on darbouka (vase drum) and Ernst Reijseger, who beat the rhythm on the body of his cello.

Even rock guitarist Jeff Sopacua appears to have no problem at all with the exotic rhythms, witnessed by his effortlessly funky accents and biting solos. When Reijseger swaps his classical cello for an electric one and then plays it as if it were an electric bass, there is in fact a modern rock band standing on stage, except for Behsat’s baglama (Turkish long-necked lute)

A big surprise in Xenopolis is the Turkish singer Ceylan Ertem, found by chance on MySpace. The clip Panik Atak, which she inimitably sings all her phobias and fears, brought Üvez Kamperman to ask her for this project. Her participation involves some complications, because she is afraid of flying, and therefore has to travel five days from Istanbul to the Netherlands by car. Luckily, she does not suffer from fear on stage, and in terms of charisma and musical whimsy she can effortlessly compete with someone like singer Björk. In addition, she has the voice command of a classically trained singer, without compelling herself to any kind of straitjacket. Her voice went from chilling heights through warm-blooded middle registers and seductive cooing to the gritty depths of the Central Asian throat singing, thanks to an impeccable microphone technique and the use of some effect equipment. Despite the seeming madness with which she sometimes shouts, she performs everything with extreme precision.

Individual talent is no guarantee for a good group performance, but thanks to an unmistakable mutual click, these six musicians drive each other, and thus the whole, to great heights, with a series of breathtaking moments as a result.” De Volkskrant *****, 13-12-2011

Baraná & Clastrier & Rizzo  *****

Majestic whirlwind with endless breath

“With their newest project Modes et Maqams, the musicians of Baraná are not about to just caress the ears of their audience. Their first performance on Wednesday started off with a complex piece full of dissonant sounds and unsuspected turns. But it was exciting, and it stayed that way. Baraná Trio without guests already is one of the top world music ensembles of our country, but tambourine virtuoso Carlo Rizzo from Italy and hurdy-gurdy phenomenon Valentin Clastrier from France succeeded in adding an even broader sound and extra depth.

The musicians had to work hard on stage, because reed player Steven Kamperman did not spare anyone in his arrangements. The parts where hurdy-gurdy, accordion and alto clarinet blended into a majestic whirlwind with endless breath were extremely beautiful. The title of the project provided the musicians with lots of space starting from old Europe, via classical Mid-Eastern traditions towards contemporary music. Nevertheless the project kept its homogeneity.

Luckily, both guests took the opportunity to show their specific mastery. Rizzo did this half way the performance with inimitable rolls on his small instrument, which has an extremely big range in dynamics and frequency, because of its variable tuning, jingles and built-in microphone. In the swinging encore Clastrier demonstrated that one can play the hurdy-gurdy also in an ‘ordinary’ fashion, be it with a virtuosity not given to most mortals.” ***** De Volkskrant, 2009

Compasión, CD Salmuera *****

“Saxofonists Paul Weiling and Steven Kamperman add a refreshing mix to the flamenco genre with their surprising horn playing. An innovation that sounds so convincing that one asks onself why nobody has been doing this before.” De Volkskrant, 2010  *****

Baraná Trio Gül ve Bülbül CD Trouw, february 2008

Daring Equilibre

“The Rose and the Nightingale have been in love ever since the beginning of times, but the thorns of the rose prevent mutual physical contact. For centuries, this symbolism has inspired Central-Asian artists, as it has Turkish singer, lute player and percussionist Behsat Üvez. Together with the Dutch clarinet player Steven Kamperman and accordionist Bart Lelivelt, he makes this impossible love sound cheerful, excited and fast at one moment and melancholic, introspective and emotional at another. The CD is a daring equilibrium between hope and despair. Enchanting is the mixture of low bass sounds and dark song (‘Bir Firtina’), and sparkling clarinet improvisations over dissonant chords (‘Dance of the Nightingale’). Turkish and western scales are put together cleverly; everything is performed tight and in balance. The music can be unnerving, but renders perfectly happy at the same time, though the eternal longing rests.”


Baraná Trio CD Gül ve Bülbül (The Rose and the Nightingale)

Turkish Melting Pot music from Utrecht

“Gül (Rose) is a popular name for girls in Turkey and the bülbül (Nightingale) is widely sung about in that country. Enough material for a project for vocalist/lutist Behsat Üvez and clarinet player Steven Kamperman, who are the nucleus of Baraná since a few years.

With accordionist Bart Lelivelt they formed a trio, which often sounds like a much bigger band due to the clever arrangements. Their taste is big as well: this really is melting pot music, with influences from jazz and latin alongside the evident Turkish basis. Üvez’s voice is extremely suited for the poetic lyrics, and Steven Kamperman shows such an amazing ability to adapt exotic clarinet styles, that he could easily be mistaken for a Turkish gypsy.” Frans van Leeuwen, NRC, 2008

Carrousel, live at SJU-Jazzpodium, 2008

“Carrousel does not so much focus on free improvisation, but rather on the virtuose compositions of Steven Kamperman. The space for solos is sometimes limited, which I personally find a pity, because when they solo… fasten your seatbelts!

Both Kamperman and Jeroen van Vliet play agile and with passion. Kamperman also adds oriental scales to his impressive improvisations – not surprisingly, considering his background in world music, for instance in Baraná and Carlama Orkestar. Moreover he etablishes a warm and round sound on the soprano sax. Kneer and young talent Pichler accompany alert and with taste. The quartet made a compact and tight journey in the amazing world of the Merry-go-round with jazz of an exceptionally high level.” Draai om je oren, Jacques Los, 2008

Carlama Orkestar Live at the Grand theatre Groningen

“Then it was time for the big bang – Carlama Orkestar with Balkan brass on saxophones, with award winning roles for Akos Laki, Steven Kamperman and Behsat Üvez.

Akos Laki, the sturdy Serbian/Hongarian/Rotterdam tenor saxophonist that leads his group with charisma, was powerfully accompanied by Behsat Üvez on percussion, the fantastic drummer Sebastian Demydczuk and the impressive Henk Spies on bass saxophone. On the other saxophones we saw a replacement and the more than excellent Steven Kamperman, who silenced the audience a couple of times with terrific solos.

The music sounds East European, but the influences of West European jazz are just as clear. It’s a wide-ranging international group, and one hears a delightful blend of the Netherlands, Hungary, Turkey and the Balkan, exciting and passionate. And when you see them live the fun is even bigger. You’ll see how the percussionists are chasing each other with a broad grin, how the saxophonists challenge each other with duels, and how they come to a musical height. A pure party, continuously with a beautiful, melancholical undertone

Moors Magazine


Carlama Orkestar at Bimhuis 2008

“The dress code of the six musicians of Carlama Orkestar – loud shirts, sun glasses and crazy hats – might lead you to think they approach the Balkan brass band tradition with irony. Nothing is less true. With four saxophones as front men, they are everything but copycats. Having their base camp in Holland, they must be considered as reformers of the genre.

Spawned by a mighty rhythm section, with Behsat Üvez and others, the men of Carlama Orkestar showed that the somewhat inferior position of the saxophone in Balkan music is entirely unfair. The pumping playing of Henk Spies on his impressive bass saxophone was especially a revelation, fading the often-hazy tuba of some of his Balkan colleagues.” De Volkskrant, march 2008

Carlama Orkestar in Pakhuis Wilhelmina Amsterdam

“The party really got going when Carlama Orkestar started playing their first notes. They immediately gave 100% and the audience loved it. The band, with musicians from all over the place, consists of two percussionists and four saxophone players. They represent the entire saxophone family, including the huge bass saxophone (man, the lungs you need for that!)

You can’t miss any instrument by force of their ensemble playing and the harmony of the saxophones. The Serbian brass band sound, the hats and the sunglasses almost gave it a tropical atmosphere. The name says enough: Carlama means a wild dance, or an exuberant party that nearly gets out of hand. This group really stands for its name.” VPRO 3 voor 12, february 2008

Baraná at SJU-Jazz Festival 2003
“Baraná & Co, put together for the Music Meeting 2002 hardly half a year ago, sounds like an ensemble that has existed for a long time. This is particularly surprising considering the big differences between the musician’s backgrounds – five of them versed in Turkish traditional music, four in jazz and improvised music.

Every one of them as musical and agile as the others, it is mainly Üvez himself, clarinet player Steven Kamperman and cello player Ernst Reijseger who build playful bridges between both worlds. When Üvez plays almost mandolin like on a microscopic saz, Reijseger and Kamperman pull the music into Europe, whereupon Üvez reacts with a vocal improvisation evoking reminiscences of Dutch folk star Willy Alberti.” De Volkskrant, Ton Maas, 2003

CD Baraná & Co, Live at the Music Meeting

“(…) where many cross-over projects fail by sticking to a succession of styles, Baraná & Co succeeds impressively. The secret lies in strong compositions and clever arrangements, but above all in the affinity to one another’s music. Baraná & Co is the result of a friendship between the Turkish singer and saz player Behsat Üvez and the Dutch clarinet player Steven Kamperman. Their friendship has truly inspired all of the nine co-operating musicians.” Ton Maas, De Volkskrant, 2003

Baraná & Co, CD Live at the Music Meeting

“Baraná & Co’s Live at the Music Meeting (…) documents an odd, idiosyncratic meeting of experienced European improvisers such as Ernst Reijseger with musicians versed in the traditonal music of Turkey. In many ways this program sounds like a synthesis of the large ensemble experiments performed by people such as Ned Rothenberg (whose Powerlines band was, like this one, percussion-driven and somewhat musically globe trotting) and the more recent experiments by Francois Houle, who brings his musical concept into existing ensembles outside the free improvising world. Kamperman’s clarinet in particular, but also Reijseger and trombonist Adolfsen, pay these traditional charts and carry the melodies alongside vocalists, stringed instruments like saz, and burbling beds of percussion (particularly vigorous on ‘Dokuzluk’ where Reijseger takes flight, and on ‘Zula’). Things get fractious only occasionally (as on the string section opening ‘Nihavent Tango’), and for the most part are stitched back together (albeit quite admibrably). Throughout, the vocals are more central than some may like. And if you’re looking for a great opportunity to hear the above-mentioned three instrumentalists stretch out, know that this is no series of mini-concertos. But as an integration of musical traditions, this is a more than satisfying release.” Cadence march 2004-10-18, Jason Bivins,

SJU Jazz Festival 2003

“(…) More introspective, but certainly not less passionate was the concert of Baraná & Co. This Turkish-Dutch band has existed for less than half a year, but sounds like a group with years of experience together. In long pieces, with plenty of neck-breaking changes of meter, the group balanced between Turkish quarter-tones and Western free improvisation. After the great singing of Behsat Üvez (..)” NRC, 2003

Baraná & Co, CD Live at the Music Meeting

“Live music on CD is rarely really live, and often the applauding annoys rather than anything else. Baraná & Co is an exception. The more often you hear the concert, the more you get the feeling you missed a big adventure. One hears the trombone of Kees Adolfsen soloing over the difficult rhythms of the percussionists. One hears Ernst Reijseger torturing his cello in order to keep up with the high tempos. One hears fascinating choir singing after hot violin solos by Monique Lansdorp. It’s the combination of traditional Turkish string music, exciting improvisations, a bit of Tango, all based on poetry of Yunus Emre. If only I had been there!” Deventer Dagblad, 2003


M.O.T. CD Modern Madness or Tribal Truth?

“The answer on the question posed by the title is of course ‘both’. M.O.T, a group led by Utrecht-based reed player Steven Kamperman, combines the best of both worlds: the exciting music of the big city, in the form of alert jazz with individual tours de force, and the enchanting warmth of multi-layered African grooves.

M.O.T makes buoyant but tasteful use of all colours hidden in the special combination of instruments: (alto) clarinet, violin, tuba, keyboards, Senegalese percussion and drums. The pieces are constructed in an orchestral fashion, with interesting, always moving rhythmic patterns underneath, and inspired solo work on top. Kamperman himself, piano player Albert van Veenendaal and violin player Jasper le Clercq move in a stimulating way between intelligent abstractionism and melodious lyricism.

The first and third world being clever interwoven, the group dares to play simple and direct as well, not letting the harmonical or rhythmical acrobatics interfere with the atmosphere. Inspiringly expressive!” De Volkskrant, Frank van Herk, 2002


M.O.T.  CD Modern Madness or Tribal Truth?

“LopLop Records, the little Dutch label that definitely can, continues to amaze with this dizzying CD of brilliantly fractured EuroJazz. OK, not a lot of blues figures here, which is already understood given the provenance, but what does show up right off is a wonderfully cockeyed mix of impressionism (Debussy, Gunther Schuller, et al) and manic African forms. “Modern Madness” showcases clarinetist Steven Kamperman and the mellifluous violin of Jasper de Clerq; while they leap in and out of the odd stop/start structure and merrie submelody, the receptive listener will notice that Pat Votrian’s tuba plays the root functions one would expect from the bass fiddle. Don’t go looking at the personnel list to see who’s napping in the control room, though, as M.O.T. has no bassist. A nod to Dixieland? Who cares! Lengthy, convoluted, often Zappa-like themes buzz by over a carpet of literate African hand drums, rubber ducks and trap kit (courtesy of Ousmane Seye and Mike Baird) in “African Lounge”: a pleasant disorientation steals over one repeatedly when listening to these magicians, reminding us of the nasty Pozdnyshev’s moment of clarity in Tolstoy’s “The Kreuzer Sonata”: “How can I put it? Music makes me forget myself, my real position; it transports me to some other position not my own. Under the influence of music it seems to me that I feel what I do not really feel, that I understand what I do not understand, that I can do what I cannot do…”

Pardon me quoting dead white Euromales, but it’s quite ‘on’ here for this band of gypsys. For sure I’m more cheerfully woozy when the CD is on than I am when it isn’t. To continue, “Puzzles” gives center stage to de Clerq again while pianist Albert van Veenendaal strolls through unconcernedly at an outrageous angle to the nervous tuba motifs; speaking of Votrian encore, he steps out aggressively to a static bopping percussion riff on “Pigs and Cows” (imagine a barely-controlled stampede a la PETER AND THE WOLF through the recording studio. Maybe the Wolf got away again?); while “Funeral Song” visits a more Eastern European soundworld (especially in the writing for clarinet), careful modalities coursing through a cascade of Carpathian village backstreets with fateful baggage carried aloft. You really can’t beat these guys, they have a very clear-headed idea of what they want to do and pull it off with a quiet bravado that’s just a joy to hear. Pianist van Veenendaal is once more to be complimented on a sure touch with electronic keys and samples. They give more than they ask throughout.

I haven’t heard anything on the LopLop catalog that wasn’t at least worth 3 or 4 listens, and this CD is one of the better of the batch. Highly recommended.”


M.O.T – CD Modern Madness or Tribal Truth ?

M.O.T est une formation insolite et tout à fait intéressante qui nous vient de Hollande. Cette réunion éphémère de six musiciens néerlandais est à l’initiative du clarinettiste jazz Steven KAMPERMAN, artiste aussi talentueux que prolifique, impliqué dans son pays autour de nombreux projets de rencontres et de groupes à la démarche innovante. Il est l’un des chefs de file du label Loplop, implanté dans la région d’Utrecht, spécialisé dans la promotion, l’édition et la distribution de musiques «parallèles» et improvisées issues du jazz.

Modern Madness of Tribal Truth s’inscrit tout à fait dans cette veine aventureuse (dont la voie a été ouverte en son temps par le Codona de Don CHERRY et Nana VASCONCELOS), proposant à l’auditeur de découvrir une passionnante collection de onze pièce musicales aux climats contrastés, teintées de free-jazz, de fanfare endiablée et de sonorités plus typiquement africaines. Ces dernières sont le fruit de l’apport et du travail d’une efficace et inventive section rythmique, formée par le percussionniste sénégalais Ousmane SEYE (crédité au sabar, djembé et gongoma) et par le batteur Michael BAIRD, lui même d’origine africaine puisqu’il est né à Lusaka en Zambie, où il a d’ailleurs passé la majeure partie de son enfance. Les deux musiciens se complètent à merveille, insufflant un véritable groove parfois frénétique aux différents morceaux.

Et puisque nous abordons la question du rythme, précisons ici que la basse est jouée quand il y a lieu au clavier, et que la formation aurait gagné à employer un véritable contrebassiste pour étoffer encore un peu plus sa musique, dominée par les cuivres (tuba, clarinettes) et le violon de Jasper LE CLERCQ. Les compositions du CD sont signées Steven KAMPERMAN et Albert VAN VEENENDAAL, qui illustre l’album de quelques audacieuses séquences pianistiques et autres sonorités électroniques plus discrètes. A l’arrivée, le «jazz ethnique» proposé par M.O.T est on ne peut plus vivant, varié et coloré, transportant l’auditeur d’un état de transe (la folie furieuse de Modern Madness… ou celle de Jungle Music) vers des climats plus sereins et apaisés (la mélancolie de Funeral Songou les motifs de piano à pouce de l’éthéré …or Tribal Truth).

Si la musique pourra en rebuter certains au départ vu son côté parfois «ardu» (on est loin en effet de l’univers chaleureux et mélodique d’un HADOUK TRIO) elle se laissera en revanche facilement apprivoiser au fil des écoutes. Laissez-vous donc surprendre ! Ethnotempos, februari 2005

1 Step 7 Seas, CD Mephisto

“Mephisto, the second CD of this group, contains a suite that originally was written for a theatre production under the title Mephisto learns juggling. Reed-player and composer Steven Kamperman has indeed been juggling in this suite, in which all kinds of styles and forms are used. Kamperman quite impressively manages to combine all these different perspectives, from pure jazz to abstract chamber music, into something that absolutely shows <I>vision</i>. The music always sounds fresh and clear. The setting (double bass, drums, two trombones and two reed-players, Kamperman himself doubling on alto saxophone and alto clarinet) is just right for this music that is as ambitious as it is agreeable.” Jacob Haagsma, De Leeuwarder Courant 2001

1 Step 7 Seas CD Mephisto

“…Served au naturel [i.e. without paintings] Kamperman’s music stands up perfectly as well. The saxophonist/clarinettist/composer has refined the classical sounding music that already could be heard on his first CD into a recognizable personal style, that at some moments shows parallels with the big band work of Charles Mingus. An added trombone and bass clarinet/soprano saxophone provide the band with a beautiful big sound, which makes the ingenious turns stand out all the more and renders the slow parts more solemn. And though the visual aspect in this music is strong, the band does not forget to stretch out in some really swinging parts.” Edo Dijksterhuis, NRC, 2001

1 Step 7 Seas, SJU Jazz Festival 2000

“Steven Kamperman, artistic director of the septet [1 step 7 seas + Dominique Pifarély] brought two trombone players to the stand, who showed a broad spectre of emotions. Kees Adolfsen en Fernand de Willigen played tongue in cheek ‘wah-wahs’, venomous ‘bwép!-bwéps!’, and now and then an exulting ‘trrrwwwaaap-trrrwwwaaap!’ Hence the trombones – with mute, plunger or open – became more than musical instruments: replacements of the human voice in poetry without words. The group was in particular great form in a magical, driven blues, with Fernand de Willigen preaching with great authority to the parish. A long and intense concert.” Jeroen de Valk, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, 2000