In the year 2003, Bert was asked to play bass sax for the first time. At that time he did not own an instrument, but knew one that could be hired. The experience turned out to be such a big thrill, that it became a heartfelt wish to be a bass sax owner in the future.
After consulting several specialists, some 25 horns in several European countries were test played and then the decision was made: a 1940's Conn lady face was bought from Bruno Waltersbacher in 2004.
Lucky boy, a year later there was a regular contract for over 100 concerts with the Dixieland Crackerjacks at a fun parc, where the bass sax proved to be ideal. The next two years the contract was renewed for over 130 performances per year, finished by a last series of 63 in the year 2008.
Playing so many times on the bass sax, proved to be a very important experience. Not only did the quality of the horn indicate that not just Selmer was making good instruments, but that in America in the 1930's there had been a lot of knowledge about how to make a proper instrument. Alas a part of these aspects seem to have lost somehow in modern instruments.
So Brandsma became interested in collecting vintage horns, of which a few collecters models are in his possesion. Notably a gold plated bass sax from 1921.
Other positive aspects were that learning the music from the other side, playing bass lines, was a very joyous and useful experience. After getting some fame through YouTube, the Dixieland Crackerjacks were invited to perform in Portugal, Poland, Ireland, France and the United States.
Another memorable moment, when the members of the Big Chris Barber band first heard Brandsma, he was playing bass sax at the Jazz Festival in Hoofddorp, 2005. The rest is history!
Bert played bass sax with:
- Duisburger Philharmoniker
- Noordpool Orkest
- Bernard Berkhout Swing Orchestra
- Big Chris Barber band
- in the Cologne Opera House
- Kristoffer Kompen, as Duo Special, during the 2017 Breda Jazz Festival