Basic Background Info

Birth: April 17, 1942
Location: Zaandam, Netherlands
Genres: Jazz
Instruments: Drums
Occupation: Musician



Born to a classical percussionist in the Netherlands, Han Bennink beat on kitchen chairs until his parents were eager to get him playing a real drum set. As a teenager, Han Bennink performed with local musicians while he studied with his father. During the 1960s, Han Bennink played with an array of American jazz musicians who toured through the Netherlands including Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, and Eric Dolphy. In 1963, Han Bennink created a quartet with Misha Mengeberg, which played at the 1966 Newport Jazz Festival.

During the mid 1960s, Han Bennink began playing more free jazz, often with Mengelberg and Willem Breuker. Together, Han Bennink, Mengelberg, and Breuker founded the Instant Composer's Pool to encourage avant garde jazz in the Netherlands. Han Bennink also performed with Peter Brotzman, Derek Bailey, Alex Schlippenbach, Don Cherry, and the Globe Unity Orchestra. Han Bennink, Brotzman, and Fred Van Hove played in a trio together and after Van Hove's departure, Bennink and Brotzman performed as a duo.

In the 1980s, Han Bennink accompanied a variety of artists, including Steve Lacy, Kent Carter, and Roswell Rudd.

Throughout the 1990s, Han Bennink played in the Clusone 3 with Michael Moore and Ernst Reijseger. The trio has been Bennink's primary performance outlet for years since Moore and Reijseger share his interest in a variety of jazz styles, from Dixieland to free to improvisation. During this time, Han Bennink also recorded with Misha Mengelberg, Irene Schweizer, Myra Melfrod, Eugene Chadbourne, Dave Douglas, and Ellery Eskelin. 

Han Bennink has also recently performed in Tobias Deliusís quartet and in a trio with Cor Fuhler and Wilbert de Joode. Han Bennink frequently collaborates with Johnny Griffin, Von Freeman, and Ray Anderson.

In addition to his buoyant career as a jazz pioneer, Han Bennink is a successful visual artist in several media. Han Bennink often creates sculpture from items he finds, including broken drum heads and sticks. Han designed the cover art for many albums on which he performed.


Album Year Album Name Album Band
1964 Last Date Eric Dolphy
1967 Globe Unity 67 & 70 Alexander von Schlippenbach's Global Universe
1967 Music for His Films 1967-1994 Willem Breuker & Johan Van Der Keuken
1968 Fuck de Boere (Dedicated to Johnny Dyani) Peter Brˆtzmann Group
1968 Machine Gun Peter Brˆtzmann Octet
1968 Porto Novo Marion Brown
1969 European Echoes Manfred Schoof
1969 Living Music Alex Schlippenbach
1969 Nipples Peter Brotzmann Sextet & Quartet
1970 Balls Brˆtzmann/Van Hove/Bennink
1971 Groupcomposing ICP orchestra
1971 Instant Composer's Pool ICP Orchestra
1971 Misha Mengelberg, John Tchicai, Han Bennink, Derek Bailey Misha Mengelberg/John Tchicai/Han Bennin
1971 Orient Don Cherry
1971 Patterns/Message to South Africa Noah Howard
1972 De Onderste Steen Willem Breuker
1972 Derek Bailey & Han Bennink Derek Bailey & Han Bennink
1973 Altissimo Lee Konitz
1973 Dual Unity Annette Peacock
1973 Improvise Annette Peacock
1973 Nerve Beats Han Bennink
1975 Eric Dolphy, Misha Mengelberg, Jacques Schols, Han Bennink Eric Dolphy
1975 Tschus Peter Brˆtzmann With Fred Van Hove & Han Bennink
1976 Unlawful Noise Haazz & Company
1977 Schwarzwaldfahrt Peter Brˆtzmann & Han Bennink
1977 Tetterettet ICP orchestra
1978 Company 6 & 7 Company
1978 Solo Han Bennink
1979 3 Points And A Mountain...Plus Peter Brˆtzmann/Misha Mengelberg/Han Ben
1979 In Berlin ICP orchestra
1979 Yi Yole Dudu Pukwana
1980 Jazz Bunker Han Bennink
1981 Corners Leo Cuypers Trio
1981 Heavy Days Are Here Again Leo Cuypers
1981 Taiming Ernst Reijseger/Alan Purves/Han Bennink
1982 Japan Japon Misha Mengelberg & ICP Orchestra
1982 Regeneration Roswell Rudd/Steve Lacy/Han Bennink
1983 Down South Harry Miller
1984 Change of Season: The Music of Herbie Nichols Mengelberg/Lacy/Lewis/Gorter/Bennink
1986 Bospaadje Konijnehol I ICP Orchestra
1986 Duos: Europa America Japan Peter Kowald
1987 Dutch Masters Misha Mengelberg
1987 October Meeting 1987, Vol. 2 Various Artists
1987 Sendai Sjors + Sendai Sjimmie Willem Breuker/Han Bennink
1987 Ta Ernst Reijseger/Alan Purves
1987 Two Programs: Performs Herbie Nichols and Thelonious ICP Orchestra
1988 Blues Ahead Joe Van Enkhuizen
1988 Directly to Pyjamas Steve Beresford & Han Bennink
1988 Han Derek Bailey
1988 Kids Mysteries Sean Bergin & M.O.B.
1988 Spots, Circles and Fantasy Cecil Taylor & Han Bennink
1989 Alms/Tiergarten (Spree) Cecil Taylor
1989 Soft on the Inside Andy Sheppard
1990 Baal Brecht Breuker Handke Willem Breuker
1990 Bospaadje Konijnehol II ICP Orchestra
1990 Nijmegen Hassen Hunt Eugene Chadbourne
1991 Live in Berlin '71 Brˆtzmann/Van Hove/Bennink + Mangelsdorf
1991 Noci...Strani Frutti Ernst Reijseger With Han Bennink
1991 October Meeting 1991: 3 Quartets Various Artists
1992 Clusone Trio Clusone Trio
1992 From Newport to Nice Lee Konitz
1993 Charlie Parker Project 1993 Anthony Braxton
1993 Ellington My Way Joe Van Enkhuizen
1993 Soft Lights and Sweet Music: Clusone Trio Plays the M Clusone Trio
1994 Azurety Ray Anderson/Han Bennink/Christy Doran
1994 Eleven Ghosts Myra Melford & Han Bennink
1995 Cheer Up Ray Anderson
1995 I Am an Indian Clusone Trio
1995 Irene Schweizer & Han Bennink IrËne Schweizer & Han Bennink
1995 Testament: A Conduction Collection Lawrence D. "Butch" Morris
1996 Alternate Currents Various Artists
1996 Boogie with the Hook Eugene Chadbourne
1996 Conduction 28: Cherry Blossom/Conduction 31: AngelicA Lawrence D. "Butch" Morris
1996 Conduction 31/35/36 Lawrence D. "Butch" Morris
1996 Knitting Factory Presents What is Jazz? Festival 1996 Various Artists
1996 Love Henry Clusone Trio
1996 Serpentine Han Bennink/Dave Douglas
1996 What Is Jazz? 1996 Various Artists
1996 X Caliber Wolter Wierbos
1997 Critics Picks, Vol. 1 Various Artists
1998 Bellagram Cor Fuhler/Han Bennink/Wilbert de Joode
1998 Book R¸diger Carl
1998 Heron Tobias Delius 4tet
1998 I'm in the Mood Little Willie Littlefield
1999 Camel's Kiss Tristan Honsinger
1999 Collection Harry Miller
1999 Dissonant Characters Ellery Eskelin & Han Bennink
1999 Jubilee Varia ICP Orchestra
1999 Post Improvisation, Vol. 1: When We're Smilin' Han Bennink & Derek Bailey
1999 Post Improvisation, Vol. 2: Air Mail Special Derek Bailey & Han Bennink
1999 Rara Avis Clusone Trio
1999 Stone, Brick, Glass, Wood, Wire Frith/Mori/Parkins & the International Orchestra
2000 Hour With... Clusone 3
2000 Major Step Major Holley
2000 Toby's Mloby Tobias Delius 4tet
2001 21 Years Later (Train Kept a Rollin') Han Bennink & Eugene Chadbourne
2001 Four in One Misha Mengelberg Quartet
2001 Laughing Owl Han Bennink & Terrie Ex
2001 Oh, My Dog ICP Orchestra
2001 Pelikanismus Tobias Delius 4tet
2001 Pirate Willem Breuker
2001 Soft Nose Eric Boeren
2001 What a Wonderful World Thomas Heberer/Dieter Manderscheid
2001 White Widow Michael Moore
2002 Actions Don Cherry & Krzysztof Penderecki
2002 Amassed Spring Heel Jack
2002 Balls Brˆtzmann/Van Hove/Bennink
2002 Festival Beyond Innocence: A Brief History of 67 Chap Various Artists
2002 Grass Is Greener Han Bennink & Evan Parker
2002 In the Fishtank Sonic Youth & I.C.P. & the Ex
2002 Orient Don Cherry
2002 Tiveden Per Henrik Wallin
2003 Apa Ini Tobias Delius
2003 FMP 130 Peter Brˆtzmann/Han Bennink/Fred Van Hove
2003 Live Spring Heel Jack
2003 Mob Mobiel Sean Bergin's Mob
2003 More Nipples Peter Brˆtzmann Group
2003 Orient/Blue Lake Don Cherry
2003 Our Man in Amsterdam Dexter Gordon
2003 Strandjutters D'Agaro/Glerum/Bennink
2003 Thirsty Ear Presents: Blue Series Sampler Various Artists
2003 Tinderbox Fuhler/Bennink/De Joode
2003 Variations on a Master Plan Conference Call
2004 Aan & Uit ICP Orchestra
2004 Hamburg '74 Von Schlippenbach's Globe Unity Orchestra
2004 Han Bennink Han Bennink
2004 Home Safely Han Bennink/Curtis Clark/Ernst Glerum
2005 Blue and Sentimental Boris Vanderlek
2005 Improvisie Paul Bley
2005 Weer Is Een Dag Voorbij ICP Orchestra
2006 Eye and Ear: Artist-Musician Corbett vs Dempsey
2007 Complete Machine Gun Sessions Peter Brˆtzmann
2007 Live in '65 [DVD] Wes Montgomery
2007 People I Like The Blueprint Project


  • Always a fan of improv, Han played a drum kit made of cheese during a MOCCA exhibit.

Instruments of Choice



Cymbals: Paiste, Zildjian

Pics & Clips