Dutch drummer-percussionist Joost Lijbaart realises a life-long ambition with the release of his first solo album, Free, on November 30th.
Known internationally for his work with saxophonist Yuri Honing’s trio and quartet over the past twenty-five years, and more recently for leading the ambient improvising voice-guitar-percussion trio Under the Surface, Lijbaart devoted six months during lockdown in Amsterdam to writing and recording the album.
“I love working with Yuri’s group and with Sanne [Rambags - singer] and Bram [Stadhouders – guitarist] in Under the Surface,” he says. “But for a long, long time I’ve wondered what it would be like to create something where I play all the instruments myself. So, I gathered lots of drums, tuned percussion, harmonium, vibraphone and much more, and got to work.”
All the compositions on the album are Lijbaart’s own, some being quite short but others, including the opening Strangers from the Sky, bordering on the comparatively epic. It’s very atmospheric in style and very considered but there are also passages where Lijbaart opens up his kit and rocks with considerable effervescence.
“The whole experience became what I’d describe as a journey inside,” he says. “Composing and recording the album gave me deeper insights about myself as a drummer but also as a man and as a human being. And of course, I was confronted with my own influences; classical percussion, my hero drummers, music from around the world, which also feeds into Under the Surface, and more. I’m really happy with the way it turned out.”