The Groningen Report


During this years ZomerJazzFietsTour (SummerJazzCyclingTour) 2018 I had the very special chance to interview some really fascinating musicians. This very unique festival, located in the northern country side of Groningen/The Netherlands, has developed into one of the treasures of the Dutch Jazz Festival landscape. The festival’s music is programmed by Marcel Roelofs, a legend, whose signature of musical taste is fabulously here.

On this festival the visitors are invited to pick their cycling routes in the beautiful Reitdiep valley and at least try to grab some of 29 concerts in medieval churches and farmer’s barns, with music featuring the latest trends in jazz and improvised music from The Netherlands and abroad.

In the past years I already had the big pleasure to interview artists like: Joe McPhee, Lucien Dubuis and Regula Schwab. This year the tuba players Oren Marshall and Michel Godard, the multi instrumentalist Eugene Chadbourne and baritone saxophone player, composer and educator Giuseppe Doronzo.

Very special for me was to meet the tuba-duo with Oren Marshall (UK) and Michel Godard (FR). All happened in the Headquarter Garnwerd of the ZomerJazzFietsTour, where many of the musicians of this festival came by for refreshment and socializing between their performances. After my interviews with Giuseppe Doronzo (IT) and Eugene Chadbourne (US), I got postive feedback on my further interview requests from Michel Godard and Oren Marshall. After their last concert, which took place in the small church of the village Ezinge, we met for our talks in the evening, really relaxed while the festival already ended slowly. I was very happy to get both of them, they were very positive, charming, talkative and interested.

Wikipedia describes Michel Godard this way: “Michel Godard (3 October 1960, Héricourt, near Belfort, France) is a French avant-garde jazz and classical musician. He plays tuba and the predecessor of the tuba, a brass instrument known as the serpent.

At 18, Godard was a member of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Radio-France. He has also been member of the French National Jazz Orchestra and the Arban Chamber Brass quintet, and has played with the Ensemble Musique Vivante, the ancient music Ensemble La Venice and „XVIII-21Musique de Lumieres“.

Godard has participated in projects with Michel Portal, Louis Sclavis, Enrico Rava, Michael Riessler, Horace Tapscott, Christof Lauer, Kenny Wheeler, Ray Anderson, Rabih Abou-Khalil, Sylvie Courvoisier, Simon Nabatov, Linda Sharrock, Pierre Favre, Misha Mengelberg, Gianluigi Trovesi, Willem Breuker, Gabriele Mirabassi, the ARTE Quartett and more recently in a quartet with co-tubist Dave Bargeron.

His album Three Seasons (HGBS, 2014) with Günter „Baby“ Sommer and Patrick Bebelaar) was awarded Album of the Year 2014 by The New York City Jazz Record. The album Stupor Mundi (DML, 2015) with Patrick Bebelaar, Vincent Klink, Gavino Murgia and Carlo Rizzo was awarded the German Record Critics‘ Award.

Godard has also played and recorded with the pipeband of the Brittany town Quimper, with reggae star Alpha Blondy, and with Canterbury rock musicians John Greaves and Pip Pyle.

As a composer, he has been commissioned by Radio France, Donaueschingen Music Festival, and the French Ministry of Cultural Affairs.”

From the left: Oren Marshall (UK) and Michel Godard (FR) at the church in Ezinge (NL) during ZomerJazzFietsTour 2018. Picture Copyright by: Maarten Kerkhof.

Then I need to add the desription of “Michel Godard is an extraordinarily versatile exponent of the tuba, looking back on a long career in jazz as well as classical music. Today he is one of the most virtuous tuba and serpent players in Jazz as well as in improvised music.

Michel Godard’s tuba performance is fantastic in every sense: his technical skill is astounding, his tone clear and warm, his ability to produce overtones („multiphonics“) and his musicality leaves the listener surprised at how light a seemingly cumbersome and heavy-weight tuba can sound.

In 1979 he picked up also the ancestor of the tuba, the serpent, an instrument with a name derivated after its form – looking like a coiled snake. The serpent’s ivory mouthpiece gives it a characteristic warm and intense tone. With this „second“ instrument, Michel Godard has taken yet another step in broadening the field of expression in ancient music as well as in Jazz. Since 2002, Michel Godard is serpent teacher at the Conservatoire national de musiquein Paris.

For Carpe Diem Records, Michel has recorded „Monteverdi – a trace of grace“ in collaboration with Steve Swallow, and „Le Concert des Parfums„, both recorded in the beautiful Abbaye de Noirlac in southern France.”


Aktivieren Sie JavaScript um das Video zu sehen. says: “Godard, who has earned the reputation as one of Europe’s most important musicians in the border area between jazz, improvisation, folk and classical music since the late 1980s thanks to a number of exceptional releases, has included the serpent repeatedly in his concerts and on his CDs for quite some time.”

Steven Kamperman (NL) says: “French tuba player Michel Godard not only is a giant of the tuba in improvised music, he is also a phenomenon on the Medieval serpent in early music.”

Please, enjoy this very special video interview I had with Michel Godard in Garnwerd (NL) during this years ZomerJazzFietsTour 2018, exclusive for

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Many thanks to all helping hands at the Headquarter in Garnwerd (NL), to Marcel Roelofs, to Michel Godard, to Maarten Kerhof and to my tour crew Maria and Siebelt.