Cees Schrama (Den Haag, 18 December 1936 – Baarn, 22 May 2019)
Jazz icon, promotor of jazz music in the Netherlands and beyond, music producer, keyboard player, record industry executive and a wonderful person. To me a mentor and friend of many years, from the beginnings when I started in the music industry and we both worked at PolyGram in mid/late eighties and then with him being part of the North Sea Jazz Festival, which I visited and took every chance to see and chat with him. As a successful jazz pianist he always had stories to tell, running a radio show for jazz in the Netherlands for over 30 years added to the pool of stories about music or musicians and the albums he produced with artists like Toots Thielemans, Rosenberg Trio, Monty Alexander (Live in Holland), Tony Scott, Flairck and many other local Dutch acts, plus many re-issues from the PolyGram vaults, are proof of his tireless work in and for music, jazz above all other genres. Not many people know that he played as well on one of the biggest international hits coming out of Holland: Shocking Blue’s Venus. His passion for music is described perfectly in his 2007 autobiography It Don’t Mean A Thing: Leven Met Jazz and some of the anecdotes are told there as well …. He helped me to set up a jazz structure within PolyGram International in the early Nineties, having global meetings and co-ordinated release schedules … still working as a producer and radio and festival presenter on the side. His knowledge about jazz was second to none and I surely learned a lot from him in every aspect. He will be sorely missed, not only in the Netherlands. Jazz lost one of its biggest and friendliest advocates. R.I.P.