Saskia Laroo

Saskia Laroo (1959) was hailed by American public and press at large as “Lady Miles of Europe”. She is one of the few women trumpet stylists and a delight on the music scene for almost four decades. Born July 31, 1959 in Amsterdam, it began for her on trumpet at age 8, never dreaming herself becoming a professional musician. That all changed when Saskia, turned 18, after briefly majoring in Mathematics at University of Amsterdam switched her focus to a career in music. She worked extensively in various groups from this point, primarily on upright bass, though eventually, on both bass and trumpet. Saskia Laroo combines today’s music by uncontrived romps into new styles, eagerly limned as “nu jazz” or “swingin’ body-music”–a vivacious blend of hip-hop, jazz, salsa, funk reggae, and world, that a select few others would dare venture. Her artistry and her groove ring vibrantly and free on her seven CD albums and a DVD, journeying us through all the music she has absorbed, played with heart and soul.

Saskia performs throughout the whole world, mainly her own compositions and primarily her own formations—consisting of two to eight musicians—occasionally in combination with local artists, and as special guest soloist. One of her formations is “Duo Laroo/Byrd”, a duo with the American pianist/vocalist and composer Warren Byrd, who also performs with her other bands “The Saskia Laroo Band” (funky jazz) and “Jazzkia” (pure acoustic jazz). In recent years, Saskia and her various formations have performed in countries such as South Korea, India, China, the United States, Brazil, Canada, Russia, Zimbabwe and several other European countries. Of course Saskia can be regularly heard on Dutch stages and keeps faithful to her birth city Amsterdam by performing there as often as possible and with much joy. Jazz cafe Casablanca was for years her monthly “gig” with events such as the release party of her CD “Jazzkia”. Now she is very happy to return there to give a Red Light Jazzfestival Concert coming June 1 with her jazz quartet ”Jazzkia” featuring Warren Byrd.

Saskia is very proud that she became an ambassador for the Red Light Jazz festival. Born in another famous part of Amsterdam, named “De Jordaan” on July 1959, she performed in the early eighties in the Red Light District (locally called; “De Wallen”), in Club 26 on double bass with the Nedley Elstak Trio. This jazz trio founded by Surinam born pianist / trumpet player and composer Nedley Andrew Girke Elstak, often performed at this Club 26, a grand casino located next to another famous landmark venue Casa Rosso.

Now because of her many foreign tours Saskia is increasingly realizing the cultural and historical value of this area: “De Wallen are totally unique in the whole world. That is still far too little recognized by Dutch people especially Amsterdam’s own citizens, I think. One would have to treasure this area “, says Laroo. The Red Light District has a special place in her heart because of the atmosphere that she imagines is reminiscent of how it used to be when jazz music was inextricably linked to places of entertainment where people danced and were looking for joy and excitement. That is why she thinks it is fantastic and fitting that the Red Light Jazz Festival has been taking place here since 2014…And also a worldwide recognition for all those people who have worked there for years and have given the area its fame.

Red Light Jazz ambassadeur - Saskia Laroo