Toon Roos, born 11 April 1964, started his international career with his performance at the North Sea Jazz Festival in 1984, after which an extensive tour in Holland and abroad followed immediately. That year, at the age of 19, he performed as guest soloist with the Netherlands Metropole Orchestra and recorded his debut album First Impression for Timeless Records. Toon also received the Wessel Ilcken Prize, an encouragement prize for young jazz talent. In 1985 Toon finished his study at the Rotterdam Conservatory with Ferdinand Povel.
Toon has performed and recorded several albums as a band leader with the Toon Roos Quartet and the Toon Roos Group, and as a member or guest soloist with many jazz and fusion groups: Batida of José Koning, the Amsterdam Jazz Quintet, the Ack van Rooyen/Toon Roos Quintet and Peter Ypma plus Eleven with saxplayer Ben Herman.
Since 1984 Toon has travelled and performed in clubs, theatres and at jazz festivals through out Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Bulgaria, the Caribbean, Mexico, the USA and China.
Over the years he performed and/or recorded with many celebrities like Toots Thielemans, Kenny Werner, Danny Gotlieb, Jimmy Haslip, Jack Macduff, Art Blakey, George Mraz, Enrico Pieranunzi, Hein van de Geyn, Rob Madna, Eef Albers, Philippe Catherine, Pete Christlieb, Walfredo Reyes Jr., David Fathead Newman, Clark Terry and Bob Brookmeyer.
In 1989 Toon went to New York City with a grant from the Dutch government and had private lessons with tenorists George Coleman, Bob Berg and Bill Evans. During his five months in New York Toon did a lot of playing on sessions, performed four nights with organist Jack Macduff at the Showman's Cafe in Harlem and was invited on stage by Toots Thielemans to sit in with his quartet with pianist Fred Hersch at the jazzclub Fat Tuesday's.
He was a member of reputed jazz orchestra’s such as the John Clayton Big Band and The Netherlands Concert Jazz band directed by Henk Meutgeert. He performed and recorded as guest soloist with the Netherlands Metropole Orchestra on several occasions, directed by Jerry van Rooyen, Rob Pronk and Vince Mendoza.
Another mainstay of Toon’s musical career is the Dutch Jazz Orchestra, of which Toon has been a permanent member and regular soloist ever since its formation in 1983. The renowned orchestra under the direction of conductor and arranger Jerry van Rooyen has scored many successes in The Netherlands and the USA. These include the performance and recordings of newly discovered works of composer and arranger Billy Strayhorn, in his time the right-hand man of Duke Ellington. In the USA more than 12.000 copies were sold of the corresponding CD ‘Portrait of a Silk Thread’. The American press was unanimous in their enthusiasm for both the music and its execution by the Dutch Jazz Orchestra.
A highlight for the band was the performance in Pittsburgh, USA in 1995. The DJO was invited by the International Duke Ellington Society to play the Strayhorn music and to do masterclasses. The DJO recently released a 4 CD box with originals and standards arranged by Billy Strayhorn on Challenge Records.
Another highlight for Toon was the album Update recorded by the DJO with the music of pianist/composer/arranger Rob Madna, with Rob and Toon as featured soloists.
In 2001 Toon Roos has won the Bird Award, an international jazz prize, presented annually during the North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague. The prize consisted of a bronze statuette and an invitation to play at the festival the next year.
For the first time in years there was only one category for the Award: ‘Talent Deserving Wider Recognition’. A special jury had nominated ten musicians for this ‘new style’ Bird Award, among which Bill Frisell, David Liebman, Chris Potter, Ack van Rooyen, Jesse van Ruller, and Maria Schneider. By internet the public voted for Toon Roos as the ultimate winner.
Other winners of this prestigious prize are amongst others Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, Joe Zawinul and Pat Metheny. You can find the complete list of Bird winners since 1985 on www.northseajazz.nl/nsj68.html. Read more about this highlight for Toon on the page Pressrelease.
Now the creative journey has brought Toon to produce his fourth album Free At Last. On this funky jazz album, the new Toon Roos Group reaches the highest possible inspiration in their 'sensual fusion', blending jazz, funk, rock, latin, African and other elements into a thing of their own. The heat they produce is especially felt in the live recordings on this album that also contains some overwhelming studio tracks. Most of the songs on this album are composed by Toon and pianist Karel Boehlee. The Toon Roos Group combines some of the best Dutch jazz/pop musicians who have performed with world top artists such as George Duke, Randy Crawford, Toots Thielemans, Bob Mintzer, Steve Winwood, Prince, Jan Akkerman, Dave Weckl, Herbie Hancock, Gino Vanelli and Chaka Khan.
The presentation concert of the CD Free At Last was part of a three-night jazz & fusion serie in De Melkweg, Amsterdam with the Joe Zawinul Syndicate and Uri Caine. Since then the Toon Roos Group has performed for enthusiastic audiences in jazz clubs in Holland and Belgium and at the North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague and the World Port Jazz Festival in Rotterdam. In April 2004 they will play at the North Sea Jazz Festival Cape Town in South Africa.
Albums/CD's of the Toon Roos Quartet since 1984:
First Impression - released 1984 on Timeless Records
Attitudes - released 1988 on Timeless Records
The Human Feel - released 1993 on September Records
At this moment Toon also performs with pianist Ivan PADUARTT and singer Fay Claassen, with whom he recently recorded the live CD A Night at the Music Village, including a duet of Toon with Toots Thielemans on Toon's composition Vienna's Touch. More information on the home page.
Since 1993 Toon has been teaching saxophone at the jazz departments of several Dutch conservatories and has given masterclasses as a guest teacher.
He was teaching at the Conservatory of Maastricht for ten years, and was a guest teacher at the conservatories of Hilversum and Groningen. At this moment Toon teaches saxophone with John Ruocco at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, and with Piet Noordijk at the Conservatory of Utrecht.