This 'free' assignment is yearly given to a promising Dutch composer, who gets the opportunity to present his or her own composition in a line up of the composer's choice. The composition assignment is a cooperative project of the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Nederlandse Jazzdienst (Dutch Jazz Service), the knowledge and information centre for jazz and improvisation music. The musician chosen for 2004 is the composer/pianist Harmen Fraanje (Roosendaal 1976). He's a talented musician capable of composing beautiful melodies. After Fraanje had studied with Willem Kuhne at the conservatory in Tilburg and Bert van den Brink at the conservatory of Utrecht, he served his apprenticeship with great jazz pianists like Clare Fischer, Fred Hersch and Kenny Werner in America. In 1999 he won the jazz competition of the Breda Jazz Festival with the band Blink.
There he also won the prize of Best Musician. With the same group he won the Jazz Prize of Dordrecht in the year 2000. In 2002 Fraanje was invited to write and record music with the Metropole Orchestra led by John Clayton. Fraanje leads his own quartet with the Brazilian guitarist Nelson Veras, bass player Hein van de Geyn and the French drummer Matthieu Chazarenc. Last year at North Sea Jazz Fraanje presented his debut album Sonatala. He also plays in several groups led by trumpeter Eric Vloeimans and is a member of the Nelson Veras Quartet, the French band Par 4 Chemins, Blink, the Ostendorf/Markitantov Quintet en Gezz. At North Sea Jazz 2004 Fraanje will present his composition with his Sonatala Quartet in combination with the ZAPP! String Quartet. (violinist Jasper le Clercq, violist Friedmar Hitzer, cellist Emile Visser). This band, led by the talented violinist Oene van Geel, is one of the most self-willed and swinging quartets from Holland. Zapp! effortlessly combines jazz, rock, improv and world music underpinned by mean grooves.