It is difficult for classical cellists to escape from the associations with Brahms’ symphonies and the late Romantic orchestral cast. In jazz, in the case of the cello, it is difficult to make any associations at all. It is an instrument usually used for experimental projects, as an interesting addition to the instrumentarium. The work of Dutch cellist Ernst Reijseger is a perfect example of the colour and articulation potential of this extremely beautiful instrument in the hands of such a talented composer and instrumentalist.
Few cellists can improvise like Ernst Reijserger. He proved this in his first experimental ensembles performing contemporary music in the 1980s: Guus Janssen Septet, The Amsterdam String Trio. But the most important cooperation for the development of Ernst’s improvisation style was the collaboration with American drummer Gerry Hemingway (trio, quartet, quintet). The Clusone Trio is the next experimental-jazz band that decided to cooperate with Reijserger on a regular basis. The band played together for 20 years, which resulted in six albums full of improvisational freshness.
Ernst Reijseger plays on a five-string cello, which was constructed especially for his needs. The Dutchman holds it vertically as standard, as well as horizontally – like a guitar. He always answers questions about his vision of contemporary music consistently: he has to be direct and honest.