photograph Ingmar Heytze

a painters pallette??

When I was 7 years old I got a big box of carandache pencils in all colors. I remember I was mesmerized by the many options this would give, so many colors!!
This is what Big Bizar Habit means to me. I feel like getting that big box of colors again and I am allowed to use them all. A bit of strings here, and some brass there...... I feel like I have this pallette and a big canvas to fill. When I compose for this group I always feel like a painter.Painting not only with the instrumental possibilties but even more with the individual possibilties of the specific players and what they might contribute.

Big Bizar Habit is a band with a mixture of players on the edge of jazz, pop, improvised and composed music. They read all those many pages of music I write and then on top of it they will start improvising with it.

a jazz-improv-chamber orchestra Marc van Vugt's Big Bizar Habit is an 11-piece ensemble as large as a traditional chamber music orchestra but consisting of musicians who have earned their credits at the edge of contemporary composed music and jazz and improvised music. A combination of a jazz string quartet, a 3-piece horn section, vocals, guitar, piano, string bass and drums.

how it started In 1996 the ensemble debuted in a multimedia project in co-production with the Dutch Film Museum in Amsterdam. We performed a new score to some of the silent movies of the famous French cineast George Méliès. In 1998 the ensemble was extended to its current line up for a concert tour in the Netherlands. In December 1999/ January 2000 the group toured again, performing at prestigious festivals such as Stranger than Paranoia, Tilburg. The Creative Arts Fund (major composition fund in the Netherlands) commissioned me to write for this ensemble. Fall 2002 a double CD 'Big Bizar Habit/Strings Only' was presented with live recordings of the preceding concerts. The Creative Arts Fund commissioned me again to write for this ensemble enabling me to write the new Van Doesburg suite.

The Vandoesburgsuite In april 2004 The Vandoesburgsuite was played for the first time. Marc van Vugt's Big Bizar Habit toured The Netherlands and was invited to play in Strasbourg (Fr) for the Dutch Representation. In the fall a new composition was presented at the 750th anniversary of the Domtower in Utrecht.This piece was based on an medieval manuscript which was recently discovered.The new Cd 'Different Shades of Gray, the Vandoesburgsuite' was presented in January 2005 during a concert featuring New York tromboneplayer Robin Eubanks. In july 2005 the suite was performed at the famous North Sea Jazz festival. In the spring they did a special project with the Canadian NOJO Big Band from Canada because of the 60st celebration of the Dutch Liberation.

Alice in space; an improv space opera

in 2007 we performed Alice in space; an improv space opera composed by Marc with a libretto written by poet Ingmar Heytze and Ineke. Performed by Ineke, Ingmar and Marc and a small version of Big Bizar Habit. You can find a lot of information here:

Alice in Space (in dutch)

or read about the making of Alice in Space:

The Making of Alice in Space (in english)

In 2013/2014 a DVD will be released of the whole opera.

Ensemble in residence at the SJU Jazz Podium

We were invited to be ensemble in residence at the SJU Jazzpodium in Utrecht 2008-2009. In this time period we did several special concerts a.o a serie of double concerts with the new jazz chamber orchestra of the Utrecht Conservatory that is modelled after Big Bizar Habit. We also did some smaller projects with combinations made up with some of the musicians of Big Bizar Habit a.o. the Fire in the City festival with drummer Franscesco Branciamore (It) and trombonist Giancarlo Schaffini (It) from the legendary Instabile Orchestra.
With bassist Mario Pavone (USA), drummer Michael Sarin (USA) and alto Paul van Kemenade (NL) Marc revisited his Bizar Habit quartet in some elusive concerts at the SJU Jazzpodium and the Bimhuis. Mario and Michael were part of the legendary Thomas Chapin trio. We had the pleasure to work with Thomas during 1996 -1998 and recorded the cd President for Life with Thomas as a guest.

The Ubuntu Suite - April 2014 Ubuntu, as used by Desmond Tutu, is also being called Peace through reconciliation. It is an African concept in which two enemies come together at the market square to truly hear and understand each other's stories and discover their shared humanity. Marc wrote a heartbraking suite that will be performed by Big Bizar Habit featuring special guest trombonist Robin Eubanks (USA).

award winner For his compositions for Marc van Vugt's Big Bizar Habit, Marc received an honourable mention at the prestigious Julius Hemphill Composition competition awards 2002(USA).

Line up:

Marc van Vugt, guitars/composer
Ineke van Doorn, voice/piano/lyrics
Angelo Verploegen, trumpet/fluegelhorn
Paul van Kemenade, alto sax
Louk Boudesteijn, trombone
Mary Oliver, viola/violin
Herman van Haren, violin,
Ro Kraus, viola
Saartje Van Camp, cello
Paul Berner, bass
Joost Lijbaart, drums

to the top