2013/12/02 @ 12:47 Posted by Han Litz
We are proud to announce that on January 11th, 2014 the follow up of Han Litz Group ‘Epiphany Electrified’will be released in the form of a remix album. The disc comes with 11 brand new remixes of mostly Dutch producers and dj’s, who produced their own versions of Han Litz Group ‘Epiphany’. This results in a soulful cross-over that binds the flute of Han Litz and the music of his band to dancable styles like soulful house, deephouse, dub, lounge, samba jazz grooves and funk. The CD includes a new bonus track of the band itself. Apart from the music, Litz also had the artwork 'remixed'.
2013/07/23 @ 16:07 Posted by Han Litz
Now also in English: Jayms' interview with Han Litz - Personality & Music
Jayms' interview with Han Litz(English translation) – Personality & Music
It’s a wednesday morning in December 2012 when I meet Han at the Hilversum Starbucks. He’s already there when I enter and his melancholic blue eyes greet me with a friendly boyish smile. We mostly know each other from the stage and in the last few months also from phone calls lasting a bit longer than normal “hi, how are you” calls. When you meet him at first, Han wants to work out who you really are before letting you in on his thoughts, ideas and ideals; without compromising, I must add. He’s a blond guy, about 6 ft 5 and always dressed stylishly. It’s almost as if he just stepped out of a Humphrey Bogart movie. His manners, civilized and refined, are reminiscent of that time in history.
We decamp from the Starbucks to my workshop at Robbert’s Guitars and we begin my first official (and much interrupted) ‘Gooische Vrienden’ interview of personality & music...
Han was born in Uithoorn, a town in the shadow of Amstelveen - during his late teens he expolored the nightlife of Amsterdam at weekends.
At the age of three he heard the sound of the flute somewhere on the vinyl collection of his parents and he was instantly mesmerized by it. After a period of wrestling with the wooden recorder he finally got his first silver flute when he turned thirteen. Finally he could bask in the warmth and explore the depth of the flute and his magical quest could begin.
I’m describing it this way, because the flute has somewhat of a magic vibe to me. The recorder and pan flute are limited, but the flute delivers with ease and somehow combines the possibillities of these instruments, resulting in a much more virtuoso and effective sound.
So that’s how he started and he later he enrolled in the Conservatory, which naturally had classical flute teachers, but no-one jazz-oriented for his instrument. So Han had to study classical flute as well; bravely I ask him if that is why he is able to come up with such strong melodic ideas in his improvisations, but never ending up in note overkill? His improvisation teachers encouraged him to play this way and he enthusiastically complied.
When I ask him at some point in the interview if he suffered from disciplinary demands from his teachers, especially in the field of self-development, he implies that it might have been a blessing in disguise that he had no jazz flute teacher at the conservatory. These jazz lessons turned out to be a kind of playground, because his jazz teachers could focus more on developing Han’s improvisational skills and techniques and the classical flute lessons were more about the specifics of the flute. His teachers for improvisation were a guitarist, trumpeter, saxophonist and the final 2 years, a double bassist whom he learned most from. In those lessons they played together quite often and Han learned from him to communicate through his instrument while playing with others.
Then we get to ‘Flowriders’(currently Seravince). I’m asking Han what he has learnt from being in this band? He was with them from the beginning, but he took a break for about a year rejoining the group on one condition: more space for his own interpretation. In the second period he learned the most from playing with their new ‘London Broken Beat’ drummer about using the space within the groove....Although his choice of words is a bit different, i’m explaining it this way because before turning 30, I didn’t get it how in God’s name it was possible for a musician to make choices of where to leave gaps and where to play, in such a short period of time. Step by step i’ve learned that it’s a combination of intuition and reflex. James Brown’s ‘I feel good’ is a good example of such a groove. It seems as though the whole beat is turned around, but still you can’t sit still while hearing that groove. In the style ‘West London Broken Beat, as Han & co are calling this, it’s all a bit faster. You can hear those influences on his album as well, the rhythms aren’t boring at all!
My next question is: “why do you choose for the organized chaos of the Brazilian groove in your opening track, where other flutists would prefer to leave more openness and space in the groove to put themselves in the spotlight with their flute.” He explains that the Brazillian funk groove has about the same effect on him as the flute did, that special rhythm has an elevating effect on him. That specific euphoric feeling of samba is missing in the funk groove - he wanted to bring those two together on one of his compositions. “I would like to embrace all that is jazz and I wouldn’t like to be limited by a certain purism.”
He also likes to think that if the whole band has a certain freedom within the framework and written notes and chords of a composition, the overall result during a concert or recording will be cumulative. Creativity born in freedom is of course the dream of every musician. He has been working with his band members for quite some time now and it surprises me how many parallels there are between our at first seemingly different worlds.
While i'm in the middle of asking Han what his connection is with ‘the voice’ that is being represented on their album ‘Epiphany’ by male singer Kris Rietveld, a lot of noise starts up in the hallway again. I step outside to deal with the matter, while a very relaxed Han picks up his flute and plays a couple of riffs. The peace that he radiates is a blessing in disguise for a first-time interviewer.
“The voice is the closest instrument to the human conciousness, and it inspires me hugely when someone sings with true passion”, he says calmly. “Next to recording with Kris, I'm also working with Orlando Mino on one and Jeffrey Zuhdy on one other track of the album”.
When improvising melodies on the flute or composing themes, I’m always relating the timing and phrasing of the lines to that of a well trained jazz or soul vocalist. While playing I imagine vocalising something with a melody that has a specific timing or phrasing, but then without words. Much like the way I’m using the voice of Kris without lyrics on most of the vocal tracks of my album, singing along with the themes; it results in a soulful vibe. A Brazillian and Cuban style that hasn’t been used in the jazz & soul of Holland; though quite often it was used in European romantic classical music.
Funnily enough the next question has to do a lot with the human voice and is about the lightly overdriven sound of the flute on some tracks on the album. Slightly naively , I’m asking him what kind of effect controller he uses, and he proudly demonstrates how he’s singing along while he’s blowing the flute at the same time. I’m sincerely astonished. Pffff....me and my ‘producer ears’.
Han plays piano, a bit of bass guitar and of course the flute. He did a bit of drumming purely for learning coordination and he claims that it’s important as a bandleader to be able to play a little (or a bit more) on few instruments. "It helps with communication and it brings to life your explanation of the desired sound. For instance it makes it much easier to formulate and talk about ideas for the rhythmic feel of compositions".
Now I’m entering an area that maybe isn’t uncomfortable for Han, but still it’s a delicate thing to ask someone about a medical condition. Yes, Han has been diagnosed with a condition called ankylosing spondilitis - a kind of rheumatism. One day he had an inflamed eye, and after investigation this diagnosis emerged. It was quite irritating for him to hear at the hospital only that there was a certain substance in his blood and not get an explanation from the doctor; he had to find out more on the internet.
He learned to deal with it incrementally. “I used to work late every night in my home studio, but now i know that I need my sleep and I need to eat better and more organic; I also can’t eat some things.” “Before that, I had a go-with-the-flow kind of attitude and didn't care about the consequences” This wasn’t possible anymore cause it resulted in inconvenience and getting the eye inflammation again. “I quitted smoking and everything that was redundant”. ”In that period of time of getting used to the new situation I started developing my composition skills a lot, cause during the eye inflammation i couldn’t watch TV.
"Actually I’ve gone back to my roots. My parents brought me up spiritually, which of course had quite an influence on my childhood. Furthermore I’ve learned to incorporate my emotions for the better, learning to make use of techniques like NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and PRI (Past Reality Integration).” I became much more efficient and I presume this also has a positive effect on my playing skills. You could sit in a small corner of a room and feel sad or you can get the best out of life. I chose for the latter, because there’s so much joy and fun - my creativity and playing are the things that I live for; and they have only become better."
To finish up, I’m asking him if he has a big dream that he’s chasing.
“With my music I want to establish a positive vibe with a melancholic twist. So a positive kind of melancholy.”
“Melancholy is often being used in a heavy sense, while it is something that people can easily identify with.”
“And for the longer term, I’m hoping to get closer to my personal sound from creation and playing.”
I’m shaking his hand and thanking him for the interview. With sympathy he thanks me and I know that I’m dealing with a remarkable guy. Gallant he walks out of the building and I can’t suppress the feeling that I found another good friend.
Order the CD 'Epiphany' through the website: http://www.hanlitzgroup.nl/
(CD Epiphany is 15€ + additional shipping costs)
or send an email directly to
with 'CD Epiphany' in the main subject, instructions will follow.
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2013/07/09 @ 16:15 Posted by Han Litz
For our streaming or 'buying-separate-tracks' fans, we would like to provide the liner notes of our album
So there he stands, with his flute – calm, cool and collected. Han Litz carries it well. Litz is far from a poser - he ’s the musician who graduated summa cum laude from the Amsterdam Conservatoire. He ’s the flutist who has created balmy breezes and storms of sound since 1990, contributing to songs and shows for a wide range of artists like DJ Maestro, Jazzanova, Lex Empress and ‘Little’ Louie Vega - to name just a few. He ’s the funkmaster who cut his teeth recording with Flowriders and Kindred Spirits Ensemble, among others. With this debut album The Gentle Giant proves that a flutist can also be an excellent bandleader. That isn’t new, but it’s certainly something we need reminding of. Han snaps us back to the here and now - feel how he spills his guts in the solo in Blue Pages. Sway down the stairs with him in Lisbon, after nocturnal adventures in Bairro Alto. And see how the candlelight flickers in the romantic Away Again(Lejos), where Han sets the warm tones of Orlando Miño in a golden glow. Han’s band is handpicked - carefully chosen musicians who can tickle and tempt, but who also reveal their true colours in the solemn Purity.
Epiphany means ‘revelation’, and that's just how this Epiphany feels. We can hear the music world's many influences on Han Litz - and also his influence on it.
by Guuz Hoogaerts
2013/04/05 @ 13:56 Posted by Han Litz
Interview with Han Litz by Jayms
Here's an interview (in dutch) with Han Litz on the 'Gooische Vrienden' blog
for Personality & Music, by Jayms