Ronald Langestraat

In the early 1980s, Ronald Langestraat was a fixture in Amsterdam’s jazz scene; he played and recorded with the Latin-jazz bands Cascada and Ritmo Natural, building a respectable local following. But while Langestraat’s band projects were well received, fans and peers didn’t have the same enthusiasm for his solo work, which took the elegance of jazz, the passion of ‘70s soul, and the upbeat groove of salsa music and sent them into outer space. When his bandmates heard what he’d been working on, they laughed at him.

Crestfallen, Langestraat went home and wrote a song called “You Need To Cry,” addressing the ridicule he endured from his peers. “People are hurting one another,” he laments in the song. “I’m just a man with nothing else…but music.” In his living room, he powered up his four-track recorder and started playing any instrument he could get his hands on: electric and acoustic pianos, organs, drums, clarinets, saxophones, and the Moog synthesizer. He didn’t know what he’d come up with, but at least he was trying—which was more than he could say for his peers.

“I could do it on my own,” says Langestraat, now 79. “So I think, ‘I’m not waiting for nobody.’ They couldn’t do this, but I said I would never wait. I’d had enough of it, so I started my journey.”

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