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A life full of music

HEIN  VAN  DE  GEYN (The Netherlands - 1956) was born into a musical family and played violin from the early age of 8. As a teenager he played guitar in local rock bands, but also had an interest in Jazz, being the son of an excellent amateur jazz saxophonist. He picked up the electric bass in his late teens, and with his first jazz sextet he won the award for being "best soloist" at the Laren Jazz Competition in 1979.  He has been playing jazz professionally ever since he finished his studies at the conservatories of Tilburg and Rotterdam (where he was the first in the country to graduate with a jazz degree). 


Hein lived in the US for several years in the early eighties, working with John Abercrombie, Larry Schneider, Larry Vuchovich, Tony Bennett, John Handy and many others. The years in San Francisco, where he literary played 30 gigs per month for a few years, proved to be crucial and a great learning experience.

After his return to Europe Hein established himself as one of the most sought after bass players in Europe. His playing can be heard on some 100 recordings. He was the bass player with Philip Catherine for over a decade and recorded 9 CD's with him. In 1987 Hein toured and recorded in Japan with Chet Baker. Quite some concerts throughout Europe followed, and in fact Hein played on the last concert of Chet Baker in Rotterdam in 1988. During this year Hein started to play with, and arrange for Dee Dee Bridgewater, with whom he would perform at most of the important festivals and stages in Europe (Montreux, Antibes, Vienne, Berlin, Northsea, Nice, London ...) as well as in the USA (Carnegie Hall, Village Vanguard, Montreal, Newport Festival ...) and Japan (Keystone Corner, Blue Note ...). After three albums and numerous tours and performances Hein and Dee Dee's paths seperated in 1996 since Hein wanted to pursue his own career as a leader.

In July 1990 Hein made the first album under his own name; a duo with Lee Konitz. Several duo tours followed, and they recorded again in 2007. In 1994 Hein created his group BASELINE with John Abercrombie and Joe LaBarbara. This trio recorded several albums and toured all over Europe. 1994 was also the year in which Hein co-founded the jazz label Challenge Jazz Records, for which he produced a large number of successful recordings. Three of them received an Edison for best Jazz recording of the year.


In 1996 Hein started teaching at the Jazz department of the Royal conservatory in The Hague. In this year he also was awarded the prestigious Prins Bernhard Foundation Music Prize. He received this prize for his importance in the development of European Jazz as well as for his stimulating role as mentor and producer of many young musicians in Holland through his educational activities as well as through creating recording possibilities for them on his label Challenge Jazz. In 1998 Hein received the Bird Award of the North Sea Jazz Festival. In this year he was also elected as "Best European Acoustic Bass Player" by a referendum of the Belgian radios RTBF and VRT.


During a sabbatical 6-month period spent in South Africa in 2001/2002 Hein started writing his "Comprehensive Bass Method". This extensive method on double bass playing (950 pages) became available in 2007 and rapidly became the standard work for the double bass worldwide.


From 2008 to 2010 Hein was the artistic manager of the Rotterdam Jazz Academy, part of Codarts, and was leading this internationally orientated school with great flair and enthusiasm.

Over the last 15 years of Hein's active career he played regularly with the trio of Enrico Pieranunzi. He was also part of the trio that would play with Toots Thielemans till the very end of Toots' career, recording several CDs and a live DVD with him.


In 2010 Hein decided to basically stop his career as a performing bassist and he moved with his family to South Africa to the idyllic village of Scarborough, near Cape Town, where he and his wife Cyrille ran a 4 star guest house for 6 years. During that period Hein created one of Cape Town's best loved bakeries: Cape Point Bakery in which a team of bakers create artisanal sourdough breads on a daily basis. Music remains quite central in his life through writing and teaching and the odd local concert.

In 2020 Hein co-founded The Ear Academy: an on-line platform offering music education in a broad and curriculum-based structure. Hein has been devising the curriculum and was responsible for production and the musical and educational integrity of the program.

Hein has performed and recorded with many artists over the years. To name a few: 

Chet Baker, Freddie Hubbard, Roy Hargrove, Woody Shaw, Kenny Wheeler, Tom Harrell, Nat Adderley, Abbey Lincoln, Meredith d'Ambrosio, Marlena Shaw, Tony Bennett, Ivan Lins, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Joao Bosco, Mark Murphy, Jack DeJohnette, Peter Erskine, Ed Thigpen, Joe Labarbera, Alex Acuna, Elliot Zigmund, Idris Muhammad, Billy Hart, John Abercrombie, Leonardo Amuedo, Tal Farlow, Philip Catherine, Larry Coryell, Dave Pike, Toots Thielemans, Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Michel Petrucciani, Enrico Pieranunzi, Barry Harris, Horace Silver, Danilo Perez, Junior Mance, Walter Davis Jr., Eliane Elias, Tete Montoliu, Mulgrew Miller, Fred Hersch, Kenny Werner, Horace Parlan, Jacki Byard, Slide Hampton, Bob Brookmeyer, Joe Lovano, Lee Konitz, Johnny Griffin, Benny Golson, Red Holloway, Charlie Rouse, Bobby Watson, Lew Tabackin, Gary Bartz, Archie Shepp, Rick Margitza, Charlie Mariano....

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