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Art Blakey once said that Jazz has to be “danceable and have the Blues” and in many ways this could be Ben van den Dungen’s general musical motto.

Ben van den Dungen finished his Jazz study Tenor- and Soprano Saxophone cum laude at the Royal Academy of Music in The Hague, The Netherlands in 1988.
Ben has been performing as a Jazz musician since 1984, but his professional career took off one year later, when he won the prestigious NPS Jazz prize 1985.
Ben has performed with numerous ensembles over the years. To name some:

In 1984 he started his own group with his colleague and friend, trumpeter Jarmo Hoogendijk as co-leader: Van den Dungen/Hoogendijk Quintet. (contemporary Hard-Bop) Later on Ben and Jarmo established the ensemble ‘Brand New Orleans’ (Modern Jazz with African percussion). With these groups they were frequently touring during the 1980's and 1990's throughout Europe.

In 1986 he joined the Latin-Jazz formation ‘Nueva Manteca’. Nueva Manteca has a reputation in the mundial Latin-Jazz world that is second to none. This group does “exactly what it says on the tin” as it is a perfect combination of Cuban- and Jazz musical styles. Well known as an “all star orchestra”, they have earned themselves a reputation that can not be ignored, having performed in clubs, theatres and festivals of the highest calibre across the Netherlands and beyond.
The group recorded 10 albums, played all over Europe and toured several times in the USA , Canada, Israel and through the Caribbean (Puerto Rico, Trinidad, The Dutch Antilles) and South America (Colombia, Mexico) ending up numerous times in the USA Latin-Jazz charts.

Together with violinist Tanya Schaap, Ben founded the group ‘Tango Extremo’ in 2003. Tango Extremo represents an original combination of many different styles, mixing Classical, Jazz, Brazilian music etc., while still keeping the Argentinean Tango as the starting point. During the past few years this ensemble has enjoyed huge successes both in The Netherlands as well as abroad, including an invitation to play at the Buenos Aires Tango Festival 2009, as the only non-Argentinean Tango orchestra.
Since 2003 Tango Extremo has performed throughout Europe, (Spain, Italy, Ireland, England, Portugal and France) as well as in South Korea, Greenland, Iceland, Mexico, Turkey, Russia, Uruguay, Argentina and China.

In 1994 and 1995 Ben did a post academic study ‘Latin Arranging’ under Edy Martinez in Colombia, followed by some months in Cuba, studying the musical backgrounds of Afro-Cuban music with Oscarito Valdez in Cuba. Getting more and more interested in World music, Ben has been travelling back and forth to India intensively during the years of 2000 and 2004, studying Indian classical music in Mumbai with Dhana Shree Pandit Rai and followed master classes of Hariprasad Chaurasia.

Ben has had the privilege to share the stage with a great amount of incredible musicians, including: Mal Waldron, Art Taylor, Woody Shaw, Jimmy Knepper, Kirk Lightsey, Ralph Peterson, Cindy Blackman, Lester Bowie and Jim McNeely.
In concerts with Nueva Manteca and other Latin-Jazz activities he played together with: Giovanni Hidalgo, Nicky Marrero, Luis Conte, Orestes Vilato, Armando Peraza, Juancito Torres, Edy Martinez, Amelita Baltar, Armando ‘Chocolate’ Armenteros, Bobby Sanabria, Claudio Roditi, Ralph Irizarry, Paquito D’Rivera, John Benitez, Michel Camilo, Bobby Carcasses, Nelson Faria, Gustavo Bergali, Brian Lynch, Nelson Goncalves, Dave Valentin, Papo Vazquez and Oscarito Valdes.

Ben has been teaching both saxophone as well as ensemble playing since 1990 at the Jazz Academy of the Academy of Music (Codarts) in Rotterdam. He has been guest lecturer at the conservatoriums of Hilversum, Zwolle, Groningen and The Hague. Ben has been the Artistic director of the Jazz Academy of the Conservatorium of Rotterdam from 2004 until 2008.
Master classes and clinics abroad:
He has been invited as a guest teacher at the following Academies of Music abroad:
Jyväskylä Institute of Music (Finland)
University of Music - Salvador Bahia (Brasil)
The Jazz School - La Plata (Argentina)
Suwan College of the Arts - Seoul (South Korea)
Seoul Art College - Seoul (South Korea)
Suwan College of art - (Seoul, South Korea)
University of Nanjing - Nanjing (China)
University of Medellin “ EAFIT” - Medellin (Colombia)
Cultural centre BANF - Banf (Canada)
EAFIT university - Cali (Colombia)


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