In 1982, during the Sunday afternoon of the Schelde Jazz Festival, Machito's big band took to the tiny stage of Porgy and Bess, then opposite to where it is now. Percussionist Machito (Paul Grillo) came to New York from Havana in 1937 and paved the way for many Cuban musicians after him. He also attracted celebrities from jazz, including Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, and thus he was at the forefront of Afro-Cuban Jazz. Many years later, Horatio “El Negro” Hernandez, one of the greatest Latin drummers, played a few times, including Roy Hargrove's Crisol, in Porgy and Bess.
Another celebrity was trombonist Jimmy Knepper, leader of the band Mingus Dynastyl. That band contained the complete line-up of perhaps Mingus' most beautiful album, Mingus Dynasty. Later he played on stage twice more with drummer John Engels. More recently, the German trombonist Nils Wogram played with Arno Krijger in his Nostalgia Trio in Porgy.
Now two other giants, Lucas van Merwijk and Ilja Reijngoud.
lja Reijngoud recorded and played with Tom Harrell, Ivan Lins, Jimmy Bosch, James Morrison, Scofield, Pat Metheny, Lester Bowie, Dori Caymmi and many others. He is a regular member of the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw, The Houdini's, The Cubop City Big Band, Lucas van Merwijk Music Machine, The Jasper of 't Hof Quartet. He leads several small groups under his own name. Teacher and big band leader at both Amsterdam (CvA) and Rotterdam Conservatories (Codarts). Winner of the Thelonious Monk Award, (USA 2003) and Edison Award, 2009. So far he has been soloist with the Metropole Orchestra four times. As a composer and arranger, the list of his clients is quite varied; including the WDR big band, the HR big band, both orchestras of the Royal Netherlands Navy and Air Force, the Metropole Orchestra and the Cubop City BigBand. Soloists such as Branford Marsalis, All Jarreau, Randy Brecker, Toots Thielemans, Jorgen van Rijen, Bart van Lier, Conrad Herwig, Branimir Slokar and Ben van Dijk have played his music in recent years. He recorded more than 100 CDs and 15 DVDs. His CD The Shakespeare Album was awarded an Edison Award. Ilja exclusively plays a Kühnl & Hoyer trombone.
Lucas van Merwijk has been at the forefront of the European Latin, jazz and percussion scene for more than 30 years. He was chosen many times by the readers of De Slagwerkkrant between 1993 and 2020 as best jazz and best world / fusion drummer. After an intensive study of Afro-Cuban drums in Cuba with drummer Oscarito Valdes (Irakere, Afro Cuba), Lucas became active as a drummer and percussionist with numerous groups and artists in the Netherlands and Europe. Van Merwijk is not only a drummer, but also leads several ensembles including The Soul of Spanish Harlem, The Cubop City Big Band, Van Merwijks Music Machine, with annually changing themes, and the international world percussion group Drums United. In addition to all this, Lucas is a much sought-after teacher. Besides his teaching position at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, he is regularly asked for workshops and masterclasses and teaches as a freelance teacher at various drums and percussion institutes in Europe, Asia and America. In 2010 Van Merwijk received the Global Act Award from the Music Center of the Netherlands for his entire work in the field of World Music.