From note one you know that saxophonist Honing has ‘got it’ and that tone can cut through your soul! - The Independent Yuri Honing (b. Hilversum 1965) is one of the most remarkable saxophonists of his generation. He is allergic to compartmentalizing music. He therefore plays with musicians from his own generation (in groups like his own Trio and Acoustic Quartet), as well as with older Dutch (Misha Mengelberg and Ernst Reijseger) and foreign musicians (Paul Bley, Gary Peacock, Craig Taborn, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Ibrahim Malooff, Pat Metheny). Honing enters into collaborations with musicians from the Arab music world, from pop music, classical music and modern dance music.
1990 Yuri Honing starts his own Trio, with bassist Tony Overwater and drummer Joost Lijbaart. The absence of a chordal instrument in the band gives the threesome great harmonic freedom. This keeps the music fresh and helps preserve the band over a period of more twenty years. As part of the project Art In Jazz, which offers young and promising musicians the opportunity to make their recording debut, the Trio records the CD A Matter Of Conviction. The album is released in 1992 in the 5 CD box Art In Jazz. In this box the saxophonist is also featured in pianist Michiel Borstlap’s sextet, in which he forms the front line with alto saxophonist Benjamin Herman and trumpeter Eric Vloeimans.
1996 With Star Tracks the Yuri Honing Trio releases a remarkable CD, since the group partly takes its repertoire from contemporary pop music. Thus the album contains songs by Abba and The Police. Honing doesn’t have a problem using the pop music of his own time as a basis for improvisation; he gladly points out that jazz musicians of previous generations were doing exactly the same. In 1999 the band records the album Sequel in the same vein, using material by Björk, Blondie and others.
1997 From his youth Honing has kept a preference for the jazzrock of the early seventies. He shares this love with pianist Michiel Borstlap. In order to transpose this music into the nineties they form the band Whitehouse. The eponymous CD is released by the VIA Jazz label.
1998 The CD Playing finds Honing performing alongside veteran pianist Misha Mengelberg in twelve freely improvised tracks. Two years later the project gets a sequel at the North Sea Jazz Festival, with cellist Ernst Reijseger as third improviser. The recordings find their way onto the CD Lively.
2000 When the American pianist Paul Bley hears the Dutch saxophonist play, he invites him for an improvised studio session. Bley also extends the invitation to two partners with whom he formed a trio for a great many years: bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Paul Motian. The result can be heard on the album Seven, which the authoritative Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings awards an extremely high rating of four stars. The record also earns the foursome an Edison (Dutch Grammy).
2002 Honing records the CD Memory Lane with members of the Concertgebouw Orchestra. It is his first project with musicians from the world of classical music.
2003 When drummer Joost Lijbaart starts his own band, he asks Honing and Benjamin Herman to form the melody section. With Norwegian Mats Eilertsen on bass the Group of Friends makes a deep impression at the North Sea Jazz Festival, where a DVD of the quartet is shot, which is released in 2005.
2005 In addition to his activities in acoustic music Honing starts a new electric band, Wired Paradise. It features Tony Overwater (on bass guitar) and Joost Lijbaart plus the German guitarist Frank Möbus, best known for his work with the trio Der Rote Bereich. In 2006 Yuri Honing decides to add a second guitarist to the outfit: rocker Paul Jan Bakker (best known for his work with the band Kane and singer Anouk). In 2008 bass guitarist Mark Haanstra takes Overwater’s place, and Stef van Es comes in as Bakker’s replacement (although the latter occasionally subs with the band).
2006 The saxophonist enters into a collaboration with the Metropole Orchestra. With conductor Vince Mendoza at the rostrum he records the CD Symphonic with this orchestra.
2007 Just as he considers contemporary pop music to be the continuation of the Great American Songbook, Honing sees a parallel between that particular song form and Franz Schubert’s lieder. He therefore decides to record a full instrumental version of Schubert’s song cycle Winterreise, accompanied by the classical pianist Nora Mulder. He also uses the title for a special concert evening with guests which the saxophonist organizes every year towards the end of December at the Amsterdam Paradiso.
2009 For the first time Honing forms an acoustic band with a chordal instrument. In his Acoustic Quartet Wolfert Brederode is the pianist, Ruben Samama the bassist, and Joost Lijbaart once again the drummer. Honing invites dance producer Floris Klinkert (who uses his Christian name as his stage name) for a collaboration, resulting in the CD Phase Five. On this album Floris makes use of samples from the saxophonist’s entire discography to produce new compositions. The resulting songs are sung by singers like Leine, Sarah Bettens and Lilian Vieira (of the band Zuco 103); in addition Honing himself is featured as a soloist.
2011 Honing performs Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos in a new treatment with recorder player Erik Bosgraaf. The same year he is also working with pianist Craig Taborn.
2012 The new CD by the Yuri Honing Acoustic Quartet, True, is announced for 14 February. Yuri’s composition True was considered by The Volkskrant as one of the most beautiful compositions made in the jazz circuit in the Netherlands.
2014 After a couple of years of touring and performances at major festivals in Europe and Asia Yuri recorded Desire with his acoustix quartet. The new album Desire by the group will be released in the beginning of 2015. For this album Yuri used influences from from jazz, baroque music and contemporary music. Desire can be considered as Yuri’s most personal album, all recorded with a great quartet with Wolfert Brederode (piano), Gulli Gudmundsson (bass) and Joost Lijbaart (drums).