Han Litz is all about crossing over
“While performing, I want to evoke that ‘house feeling’. Boost the energy level and make people
act free. Create unity.” Amsterdam-based flute player Han Litz is a man of many talents –
composer, arranger, producer – and he will never back out of a good party, particularly when he’s
asked to set the pace. “Any kind of soulful party,” he adds with a glint in his eye.
After finishing his studies at the Amsterdam Conservatorium with the highest accolades
possible, Litz took to professional performance on stages from Amsterdam to Jakarta, and from
Warsaw to Ibiza. Frequently labeled ‘the sambajazzfunkflutist’, he is fluent in a wide range of
musical styles and genres. “The flute is all about breath and air,” he says. “It has a wider range of
timbre than the sax. Its sound is closest to the human voice.”
Litz's flute has ‘growled’ in many musical settings, from orchestrated jazz to house. He first heard
the ‘growl’ while listening to Jeremy Steig (sampled in Beastie Boy’s Sure Shot). Now he includes
that special technique in the curriculum when tutoring young musicians. Next to learning flutists
how to improvise and play ‘funky’, he’s teaching theory to producers and deejays.
“At their request, I function as a kind of music theory coach to a number of producers and DJs,”
Litz says. “That came out of co-operating with producers and deejays at live performances. They
want to expand their knowledge of music. I applaud that ambition and gladly put in a helping hand.
It’s a way to return the compliment and help add an extra dimension of musicality to their tracks.”
Who's Who of jazz and dance crossover
As a youngster, Han Litz was taken by the flute. He started playing cross flute at the age twelve.
Four years later, he got hooked on jazz via radio. “It was the sound,” he comments. “I was listening
to Top 40 radio and did not have a clue that there was so much more to music than the hits of the
day. Radio is still critical in broadening the musical horizons of musicians as well as the audience.”
Even before he graduated from the Amsterdam Conservatorium in 1998, Litz had his first taste of
the recording studio and European stages. Fifteen years on, he has gathered many laurels, built
an extensive (and impressive) discography, and his resume reads like a Who's Who of the
international jazz and dance crossover scene.
Litz played in the collective Flowriders (Seravince), the very first band to perform ‘broken beats’
live. He has performed with an assortment of internationally reputed dj’s, Jazzanova, Louie Vega
(MAW), Patrick Forge, Osunlade, Kid Sublime, Erick E., Roog, Maestro (Blue Note Trip) among
them. His flute sound can be heard on record labels like Yoruba, King Street, Sonar Kollektiv, Nulu,
Mr Bongo, Kindred Spirits, 4Lux, King Shiloh, Peng, P-Vine, BBE.
With KC The Funkaholic, Litz started the spiritual jazz project Kindred Spirits Ensemble, which
played the big jazz festivals of Holland. Han is also a well-respected live performer, having been
selected in 2011 to play in a ground-breaking debut live performance of Arthur Verocai's seminal
self-titled 1972 album for the Brasil Festival, conducted by the great Verocai himself.
Thinking in sound
Han is the musical director of the Han Litz Group, and composed arranged and produced their
debut album Epiphany (2013 worldwide). Tracks from Epiphany have been remixed by producers
Greg van Bueren, Monte La Rue, Kid Sublime, Nelson & Djosa, Diephuis, Phil Martin and The
Dubcreator for the group’s follow up Epiphany Electrified (2014 worldwide). Both albums were well
received by the dutch & european press. Since 2012 the band plays live in clubs and on festivals.
“I think in sound,” Litz comments on his many roles and wide range of musical activities. He likes to
think of it as building bridges. “I cover a pretty wide scope. As a flute-player, I enjoy crossing over
jazz and club music. The flute provides the ideal bridge between genres, and my deep experience
of composing, arranging my own and others' music allows me to add an extra dimension to any