Thanks to Jazz Conservatory Codarts, the many jazz venues and festivals in the city and new “creative spots” being developed, there is no doubt a Rotterdam scene. But whether that is, strictly speaking, a jazz scene, remains a difficult question to answer. And whether we can actually speak of a typical Rotterdam sound, is not more certain. Looking at the diversity of styles, genres, inspirations and (cultural) backgrounds that influence the music made in Rotterdam in the field of jazz, categorizing it or even summarizing it in one sentence, is likely not to do it justice. Yet we dare to state that living and working in Rotterdam has an impact on creative minds. This city inspires like no other. But how?

Rotterdam’s musicians are the only ones who can try to answer that question. We follow a number of them in the run-up to their performances at Festival Jazz International Rotterdam: violinist Yannick Hiwat, pianist Alexander van Popta, singer Shirma Rouse, guitarist / producer Niels Nieuborg, and trombone player Efe Erdem.


“Rotterdam gives me peace and quiet and this gives me space to create. For me, being at home in Rotterdam West, Delfshaven, is the most relaxing. That’s where I create my most beautiful music.”

That’s what Shirma Rouse – number three in the Made in Rotterdam series – says about what the city means to her. The singer, known for her powerful and soulful voice, has in recent years played with very diverse artists, ranging from DJ Hardwell, a gospel choir during night jam sessions in the Rotterdam jazz circuit, and her own band with a tribute to Aretha Franklin, her inspiration. But currently the singer is working on her first “real jazz album”. We are very proud that she will give a preview of this new music during Festival Jazz International Rotterdam. On 25 October, she will kick-off the evening at the Nederlands Fotomuseum at 7:30 pm.