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When the soulful samba jazz flutist and composer Han Litz formed his own group it wasn’t about gathering together some musicians to play his songs. It was about bringing together some friends whose collective sound he knew would inspire him in writing customised compositions. Yes, the emphasis is indeed on ‘Group’. Litz first fell in love with the flute at age 3. He had to wait 10 years before he got his own, and a couple of more years before he first heard jazz on the radio and was transfixed. After graduating from the Amsterdam Conservatory and scoring a hit with jungle/soul act 2 Bass Hit in the 1990s, Litz went on to play with a variety of genrebounding bands: the broken-beat groovsters Flowriders, the Coltrane re-arrangers Kindred Spirits Ensemble and DJ collective Supa Dance Jam. He has also shared stages with the likes of Louie Vega, DJ Maestro (Blue Note), Jazzanova, New Cool Collective, Zuco 103 and Osunlade. Litz is also co-leader of the funky Brazilian group Lex Empress & The Royals who host a monthly night at Amsterdam’s city beach Blijburg since 2006. 

Two other members of The Royals, bassist/double bassist Eric Calmes and guitarist Folker Tettero, are also in the line-up of the Han Litz Group. Acting as the ‘calm’ foundation, Calmes comes with a vast knowledge of music from his long career as session man for the likes of Randal Corsen, Izaline Callister and Sean Bergin. Tettero, who also plays with singer Carmen Gomes, uses his acoustic and electric guitars to not only create harmonies but also to ensure that these harmonies connect solidly to the rhythm and groove. Meanwhile Thijs Cuppen gets lyrical on the piano, Fender Rhodes and melodica. Renown for his work with Susanne Alt Quartet and his own Thijs Cuppen Trio, Cuppen works equally hard at connecting the harmony to the melody as he is with his fly-away solos. Singer Kris Rietveld is the youngest band member, he strengthens the soulful side and completes the group sound with his flexible voice. And then there’s Udo Demandt who has returned to his original roots as drummer after playing as a percussionist with the likes of So Sensual, Fra Fra Sound and various flamenco groups. As Litz observes, ‘It’s really hard to find a drummer/percussionist who can combine jazz, funk and samba. But we found him!’ 

The resulting debut album ‘Epiphany’ showcases each of the musician’s singular sound and colours— as well as their ability to play for the greater good. These musical friends obviously had a great time making Litz’s dream come true while recording this album in a German farmhouse ‘in the middle of nowhere’. Soulful jazz and Brazilian samba form the basis, while inspiration also comes from Dave Valentin, Jeremy Steig (whose looped flute sample provided the basis for Beastie Boys ‘Sure Shot’), Stevie Wonder and, yes, even Jethro Tull. Litz is very happy with the results: ‘Musicianship is more than playing an instrument. It’s about being part of a strong and synergetic group of the right openminded people. Together, our individual qualities form a whole.’ 

Colour with content. Warmth with an edge. In the service of the groove. Where heaven and earth meet.


Han Litz Group - Epiphany

C 2012 Han Litz


1. Epiphany

2. Away Again (Lejos)

3. Flute Funk

4. Beauty & Light

5. A Samurai's Way

6. 11:11

7. Bairro Alto

8. Purity

9. Blue Pages

10. Picardian Waltz



Han Litz, Thijs Cuppen, Folker Tettero, Kris Rietveld, Eric Calmes, Udo Demandt.


Flyin'High Records/Coast to Coast