Bob Rigter


Born in Haarlem, Holland, in 1934.

Jazz musician


Self-taught tenor saxophonist. Inspired by Lester Young, Zoot Sims, Ben Webster, Dexter Gordon. From ’53 – ’57 active in jazz scene in the Hague, Leiden, Haarlem. Played with Don Byas in the Kurhaus, Scheveningen, in ‘56.

From ’57 – ’71 he disappeared from the jazz scene, due to the demands of his work as a master of English and subsequently senior lecturer in the English department of Leiden University. Three books, a dissertation and numerous articles on English linguistics. Also articles on ‘Black Aspects of Jazz Culture’, on ‘The Evaluation of Jazz as an Art-form and the Emancipation of Black Culture in America’, and on the etymology of the word ‘Jazz’. From ’71 onwards, playing gigs again. 

Towards the end of Ben Webster’s very last concert in 1973,  Ben asked Bob to play the blues on his instrument. This happened in De Twee Spieghels, Nieuwstraat, Leiden, Holland, on 6 September. For more information, click Ben Webster’s last concert. For unique photographs of this last concert, click Ben Webster .
A detailed, fully historical description of the night of Ben’s last concert is to be found in the novel Jazz in de Oostzee, pp. 99-106.

After ’73, Bob Rigter was increasingly active as a jazz musician. About his album ‘Touching You’, Cadence (USA) wrote: ‘Rigter’s tenor has a dark, lusty sound, recalling the tone of Dexter Gordon. He also takes his time with a ballad, suggesting Gordon’s habit of privileging tone over line […] A well-produced, highly listenable LP’ (Krin Gabbard). Cadence also wrote: ‘[…] His knack for simple melodic detail is admirable.’ (Ludwig Van Trikt). In ’92 Bob played a concert with Scott Hamilton. In ’96 a live broadcast in the prestigious Dutch jazz program ‘TROS Sesjun’, resulted in the cd ‘Five on the Rigter Scale – Live in Sesjun’. 
Five on the Rigter Scale is a quintet in which father and son Bob and Simon both play tenor. In 2001 the new cd of the Bob Rigter Quartet, ‘Love You Madly’, was released on Munich Records (BMCD 315). For further information on recordings, click discography and Simon Rigter.

After retiring from Leiden University, Bob Rigter wrote two novels: Jazz in de Oostzee (1995) and Langarm (1999). Click novels. In 2006 Rigter's third novel appeared: Vreemd (Nieuw Amsterdam Publishers. See )

Bob Rigter is now active in various fields. He plays jazz, writes novels, has his own jazz program on Noordwijk Radio, and teaches Dutch to foreign refugees. For concerts and up-to-date information, click What’s new .