Sebastiaan Cornelissen


Every creator – an original inventor, needless to say- in any discipline of the artistic universe has a pre-idea, an architectonic concept that eventually will become a compositional whole: his oeuvre is, consequently, a live process that -although is bound to change on time its external and internal elements- preserves a seed, an essence that will be the artist’s fingerprint. In this sense, we could affirm that the gist of Seb Cornelissen’s work lays in the ability to blend a variety of influences from the Jazz, Pop and Classical Music, without falling in the natural peril of them having an overpowering effect upon his individual sound. As a result, we are able to experience a unique way of playing that cannot be tagged, molded or categorized: on its own conforms a singularity that can be included amongst the very new voices in contemporary music.

At the early age of 5 years old, Sebastiaan Cornelissen had his first approach to music. As a matter of fact, in the Cornelissen family runs a spontaneous impulse of artistic creation: Sebastiaan’s grandfather was a talented painter and sculptor, and his father is a well-respected double-bass player who performed several decades at the Radio Symphony Orchestra and taught at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. Hence, surrounded by a culturally rich environment, was Sebastiaan’s basic interest in drums what motivated his father to trade one of his basses for the first set that he would play in his lifetime. From there on, a firm discipline and an innate love for music would constitute the technical and spiritual foundations on which Sebastiaan has build up a successful career as a drummer, composer and producer.

From the age of 10 until present, his full time activity as a drummer has been a fruitful trek. Between the years of 1997 and 2001, Sebastiaan studied at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, where he made his first contacts with recognized jazz-musicians like the pianist Rob Van Bavel. From this friendship with his teacher was born the group Isotope. The discography of Isotope, although is not so extensive, possess an exceptional value that constitutes the germ of Sebastiaan’s integral formation as a professional. In the year of 1999 they released Isotope and in 2002 Perception of the Beholder. This second production meant a huge professional step towards a superior level of production, which involved the introduction of 4 additional horns in a band of seven pieces. This album was recorded in MDF Studios, scenario provided and established by Sebastiaan and his father after the work of many years. Technically, Perception of the Beholder sought to improve the orchestration and complexity of the compositions, in order to enrich the harmonic texture of the tunes, and thus provide a much more eclectic product. In the following production –his debut solo album Aggressive Attack- the quest for an even richer and unconventional sound would occupy his agenda as a composer and band leader.

According to this outlook, Sebastiaan went on with the production –in the same year of 2002- of Aggressive Attack. Fully produced –mastered, mixed and recorded by Sebastiaan himself- in MDF Studios, this album signified the aperture to other frames of minds, brought by the work with recognized musicians as Leonardo Amuedo and Eef Albers. Aggressive Attack is an acoustic concept, where the main target was to construct a closer outline to jazz that, in comparison with previous releases, it’s full of contrasts for a more matured sound. Around the same time, Sebastiaan was asked to give master classes and clinics in several countries of Europe, which endorsed him as one of the most skillful drummers from The Netherlands.

Since then, Sebastiaan’s evolution has taken different routes in the direction of a more dynamic creative production that had its apex in 2005, year of the release of Time Line and One Spirit. It is in this period that Sebastiaan performs with diverse acknowledged musicians as Randy Brecker, Susan Weinert, Gary Willis, Gary Husband, Steve Hunt, Shawn Lane, Frank Gambale, Wayne Johnson and Gerard Presencer. On the long run, this accumulation of knowledge through cooperation and learning would give light to obscured angles of his architectonic idea of the Music.

Sebastiaan continues developing new projects that, accordingly with his experimental and innovative nature, seek to break the ground of Jazz and Fusion towards an avant-garde musical concept. In the present time, a brand new solo album is about to be released under his own label: U-turn Records. As always, some of the finest musicians in Jazz feature in this new production, boosting the kernel of U turn’s music: Scott Kinsey (keys), Gary Husband (keys), Gerard Presencer (flugelhorn/trumpet), Steve Hunt (keys), Leonardo Amuedo (guitar), Jimmy Earl (bass) Hadrien Feraud (bass), Frans Vollink (bass) and Tom Kennedy (bass).