This is the year of Bert van den Brink. He himself was most surprised when he was awarded the VPRO's Boy Edgar Prize, the most important prize for jazz and improvised music of The Netherlands. "His work sounds perfectly original, every improvisation is a search for new possibilities," the jury ruled. The jury also praises his instantly recognizable style of playing, "an achievement only jazz greats have been able to accomplish." The pianist, who has been blind from birth, plays strictly by ear. Playing classical piano and organ concerts at first - he graduated with honor as a classical pianist at the Utrecht Conservatory - he later also completely devoted himself to jazz. He performed with artists like Chet Baker, Toots Thielemans and Rick Margitza and was the regular accompanist of the singers Dee Dee Bridgewater and Denise Jannah. His latest project, next to an emphasis on his solo work, is a duo with guitarist Jesse van Ruller. Every week he puts a solo improvisation titled Bert's Bytes on his website.