The name Martijn Schok is synonymous with boogie woogie and piano blues. Martijn has played all the major Dutch jazz and blues festivals and can also be seen regularly at festivals both in Europe and the USA.
Martijn performs solo, as well as with his swinging 5-piece band, and has up till now released twelve successful boogie woogie CDs.
Martijn's piano style is characterized by a large dose of swing, a steady groove and a high degree of virtuosity. It is clear he has a great deal of respect and admiration for the music of the early American boogie woogie originators.
Martijn is a respected interpreter of the boogie woogie style and appears at famous international festivals, such as the festival in New Orleans (Louisiana, USA), the Queen City Blues Festival in Cincinnati (Ohio, USA), the Motor City Boogie & Blues Festival in Detroit (Michigan, USA), and the international boogie woogie festivals in Switzerland, Belgium, France, England, Spain and the USA.
Besides his performing qualities, Martijn is the Artistic Director and founder of the International Boogie Woogie Festival Holland that takes place annually in hotel De Heerlickheijd van Ermelo, in the center of Holland.
Martijn Schok (born in 1974 in Arnhem) was first introduced to boogie woogie at the age of fifteen during a jazz festival in Arnhem (Holland) and was immediately grabbed by the unmistakable sound and swing of this piano style. Boogie woogie is lively dance music with a swing and a high degree of improvisation. These were the main reasons for Martijn to stop his classical piano studies, which he had been following for eight years, and focus entirely on boogie woogie. Rather than taking lessons, he decided to teach himself this individual style of jazz piano.
During his search for recordings of the original American boogie woogie artists, Martijn met one of Europe's greatest authorities on the style, Martin van Olderen in 1991. With his gigantic collection of boogie woogie records, his enthusiasm and his belief in Martijn's talent, he was a major factor in his early musical development. Spending hour after hour studying historical recordings from the early days of boogie woogie, Martijn soon became one of the most prominent Dutch exponents of the genre.
In 1995, Martijn was signed by Munich Records and produced his first CD, entitled 'Boogie Woogie Adventures'. The album was brought out on the specialized Oldie Blues label, which has released recordings of practically all the great American legends in this style, including not only Martijn's own personal favorites Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson, Meade Lux Lewis and Jimmy Yancey, but also such giants as Blind John Davis, Lloyd Glenn and Champion Jack Dupree. Events accelerated after the release of Martijn's debut CD. Various performances followed and Martijn began to make a name for himself in the Dutch boogie woogie scene.
From 1992 to 1997, Martijn studied law and economics at the University of Utrecht, going on to specialize in copyright law at the University of Amsterdam in 1998. Even before graduating, Martijn had four CD releases to his name and had already appeared at the famous North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland, the biggest indoor jazz festival in the world.
In 1994, Martijn founded the 'Martijn Schok Boogie Woogie Trio' (piano, drums and upright bass). Since then, the trio has become much in demand at jazz and blues festivals both in the Netherlands and internationally. April 1999, the trio played during the festival in New Orleans (Louisiana, USA). Several Boogie Woogie CDs were recorded with the trio and another is planned for the near future.
In 2000, Martijn was invited to take part in the hit Dutch theatre show 'Grand Piano Boogie Train'. With the basic concept of three pianists and two concert grands, the show has been successfully running since 1995. Martijn joined the Boogie Train in 2001, after the death of Dutch boogie woogie pianist Rob Hoeke. It was there that he met singer Greta Holtrop, who also presents the show, since when their relationship as a duo has blossomed both musically and romantically. Two CDs of the show have been released.
In 2003, Martijn founded the Martijn Schok Boogie & Blues Band. The other band members are singer Greta Holtrop and Dutch top tenor saxophone player Rinus Groeneveld, accompanied by Maarten Kruijswijk on drums and Sergei Shapko on upright bass.
In 2003, Martijn also founded the Boogie Promotions Holland Foundation. This foundation, with Martijn as Chairman, is entirely dedicated to the promotion of Boogie Woogie and Piano Blues in The Netherlands. The foundation organizes the succesful annual International Boogie Woogie Festival Holland. Every year this festival is visited by 1,000 visitors. The foundation also organizes an annual Steamtrain Journey with 5 piano players aboard. Just take a look at the festival website www.boogiefestival.nl for al the information on the foundation and its events.
In 2005, Martijn Schok and the Holland based living legend pianist/singer Little Willie Littlefield (Houston, Texas, USA) started a musical cooperation. Starting in 2006, both pianists can be booked in the package show "Little Willie Littlefield & the Martijn Schok Band". A swinging program with Boogie Woogie, Blues, Rhythm 'n Blues and Jazz.
In 2008, Martijn and his band played during one of Europe's largest outdoor Jazz Festivals, in Dresden, Germany. More international concerts are scheduled later in 2008.
Martijn has played with many other international boogie woogie pianists, including Big Joe Duskin (USA), Bob Seeley (USA), Axel Zwingenberger (D), Jean-Pierre Bertrand (F), Jean-Paul Amouroux (F), Mark Braun (USA), Little Willie Littlefield (USA), Ann Rabson (USA), Caroline Dahl (USA), Carl Sonny Leyland (USA), Charlie Booty (USA), Liz Pennock & Dr. Blues (USA), Kenny Wayne (USA), Stefano Franco (It), Ricky Nye (USA), Al Copley (USA), Christian Rannenberg (D), Jörg Hegeman (D), Michael Kaeshammer (CAN) and Silvan Zingg (CH). He has also performed with the Dutch boogie woogie pioneers Jaap Dekker, Hein van der Gaag, Rob Hoeke and Rob Agerbeek.
To quote Martijn: 'I consider it a great privilege to be able to share my favorite music with my audience. It does me good to see that, more than a hundred years after its birth, boogie woogie still appeals to people and that a widening public is coming to appreciate this fantastic style of music'.