Caspar van Meel
Caspar van Meel

'Caspar van Meel has a personal voice that is very rare among bassists.' (John Goldsby, 2014)

Caspar van Meel is a Dutch bassist, arranger and composer living and working in Germany. In addition to an enormous stylistic variety, he moves just as elegantly on his instrument in an accompanying bass-typical function as he does as a soloist. When Caspar plays, he is in constant dialogue with his musical environment. Whilst his playing, both virtuosic and solid, is firmly rooted in the jazz tradition, it also always shows a creativity that is directed towards the future. John Goldsby, bassist of the WDR Big Band, attests him "an open ear for the future". He is always interested in researching different, creative connections of ideas, cultures and people in music - creating new works in the process.

Born in Amersfoort in 1979, van Meel first earned a degree in Arts & Culture Studies with a focus on philosophy at the University of Masstricht (NL). At that time he also studied double bass at the Conservatorium Maastricht with Jan van de Boomen and Carol Hart (Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam). He then fully dedicated himself to music, obtaining a masters degree at the Folkwang University in Essen with John Goldsby (WDR Big Band). In 2014, he participated in the prestigious Jazz and Creative Music Workshop at the Banff Center in Canada, where he worked with Steve Coleman, Vijay Iyer, Jeff Tain Waits, Reggie Workman and Marcus Gilmore, among others.

Van Meel has won several awards: With his quintet he prevailed in the Future Sounds Competition and he received the Jazzpreis Ruhr. As co-leader of the band Trigonon he was awarded the Jazzwerkpreis Ruhr, and as bassist of the Mike Roelofs Band he reached the finals of the Dutch Jazz Competition. In 2020, van Meel released the CD "On the Edge" with the Caspar van Meel Quintet.His second album  "Satie - A Time Remembered" was released  on the 8th of December, 2023 on O-Tone Music and received with critical acclaim by a.o. leading European magazines Jazz Thing and Concerto, followed by radio features and interviews on WDR, HR, BR-Klassik and NDR Radio and a radio-concert broadcast by leading German radio station Deutschlandfunk. SWR 2 and featured the album as Jazz Album of the Week  In recent years he has continued to record with among others the Ellington Trio feat. Frederik Köster and TREY feat. Stefan Karl Schmidt. With the Ellington Trio he was nominated for the German Record Critics Award for their Album 'Thing's Ain't What They Used To Be'. Van Meel can also be heard on countless CDs as a sideman.

He has played with the WDR Big Band, Philip Catherine, Götz Alsman, Gerd Dudek, Martin Sasse, Peter Herborn, Stephan-Karl Schmidt, Christoph König Pablo Held, Jonas Burgwinkel and Denis Gäbel, among others; he has also performed at well-known international festivals, such as the North Sea Jazz Festival, WDR Jazz Night, Internationale Niederrhein Musikfestival and Leverkusener Jazztage. He is regularly engaged for theater and studio productions, arranged and composed music for the Tonhalle Düsseldorf as well as the Bochumer Symphoniker and works passionately as a music educator.

The press writes about his music:

On The Edge

'An exuberant atmosphere in which to listen to high-caliber musicians passionately making music together.'  (Thomas Bugert, Jazzthetik, 01/02-2021)

'A mixture of complex compositions, refined arrangements and the balancing act between intellectual approach and passionate playing.' (Wolfgang Giese, Musikanisch, 12/2-2021)  

'High musical level with a great fun factor', (Hans-Bernd Kittlaus, Jazzpodium, 10-2022)

Satie: A Time Remembered

'A successful take on an important chapter of European art music of the early 20th century. [Caspar van Meel] develops Erik Satie's legacy in an extremely creative and captivating way, giving it a very individual and contemporary side. A highly recommended listening experience! '!' - Thomas Loewner / WDR3 Jazz (30.11.2023)

'A wonderful album with poetry, unobtrusive melancholy and a brooding sense of darkness' by the 'Dutch master bassist Caspar van Meel'. - Ernst Weiss / Concerto (12.2023)

'Van Meel makes us experience Satie’s music in a new way from a jazz perspective, exploring the unique harmonies  and imagining new rhythmic possibilities for the melodies. Excellent arranging, his bass solos are intriguing, von Chossy’s piano ideas are great, and the horns are all inspired and creative in their solo spots. If you enjoy Satie’s music and jazz arranging, you definitely don’t want to miss this recording.' - Adult Music Podcast (12.2023)