Without any doubt jazz drummer John Engels (Groningen, 1935), son of John Engels Senior - also a respected drummer in this country - matured into one of Europe's leading and most widely wanted jazz drummers today.
John's first work of some importance was with pianist Lou Williams at the end of the 1950's. After that he joined the Diamond Five, led by Dutch pianist Cees Slinger, still an all but legendary group in Holland. With them he stayed over ten years, accompanying such greats as Stan Getz, Clifford Jordan, Phil Woods, Charlie Rouse, Nat Adderley and many others.
It is virtually impossible to name all the outstanding musicians who in the following years appealed to John Engels to play with them. A small and random selection: Ben Webster, Zoot Sims, Bud Shank, Bob Cooper, Johnny Griffin, Sonny Stitt, Scott Hamilton, Hank Jones, Toots Thielemans and many others. In 1985, during the 10th North Sea Jazz Festival at The Hague - John Played them all! - he received one of the first "Bird" awards.
This was not really John's first award tough: no less then six of the numerous albums John Engels recorded have won an Edison, the Dutch equivalent of the American Grammy. In 1989 he received Holland's most important jazz award, the "Boy Edgar Prize".
In 1997 he received as first European the "Oiho Rios" Award at North Sea Jazz festival. John's current activities include touring Germany with the Klaus Ignazek group and beeing a member of Bart van Lier's new exciting jazz formation with four trombones, Bart's Bones.
Also, with the Cees Slinger Trio John Engels keeps playing with American musicians coming to Holland. At the Drum International Jazz Festival they played concerts with Bob Brookmeyer and Ermistine Anderson. Recently John also played with Ray Brown (1996), Tony Lakatos and Lew Tabackin.