Kid Dynamite

The first Black saxophonist in the Netherlands

Born:
July 23, 1911, Hanover in Suriname (parents: mother died at birth, he was raised by his grandmother)
Died:
December 14, 1963, Hamburg (car accident)
Kid Dynamite playing at Casablanca, on Zeedijk
Herbert Behrens, Nationaal Archief / Anefo

Kid Dynamite

The first Black saxophonist in the Netherlands

Born:
July 23, 1911, Hanover in Suriname (parents: mother died at birth, he was raised by his grandmother)
Died:
December 14, 1963, Hamburg (car accident)
Kid Dynamite playing at Casablanca, on Zeedijk
Herbert Behrens, Nationaal Archief / Anefo

Kid Dynamite's Connection to this Location

Steps leading to the former jail under the Torensluis

Click here to see this location on a map.

Tap here to see this location on a map.

The Chamber Under the Bridge

Follow the wooden railing down to the closed door and barred windows. You’re looking at what used to be the dungeon under the Torensluis. Boat traffic into the city used to pass by the dungeon windows as a warning to would-be criminals. This space has been many things since then, including an event space, a squat for a student collective, and a jazz club. Jazz has been popular in the Netherlands since the 1920s, though the authorities in the 1930s feared it and Nazi occupiers banned it. After the war, it was welcomed as the music of the liberators. One man’s career followed this entire arc.

The Story

Imagine growing up in the middle of nature in a tiny village on a former plantation. There’s a small church where you can play all music all Sunday, but you see and hear very little about the outside world. Now, imagine leaving for the nation’s capital, then stowing away on a boat to take you across the ocean. That’s what Lodewijk Rudolf Arthur Parisius did at just seventeen years old. He and two friends snuck onto a freighter that was heading to the Netherlands.

Lodewijk arrived in the densely populated country where the 20s were roaring. He started working as a circus fire-eater, which is where he got the name Kid Dynamite. He had an incredible ability to learn musical instruments, so he bought and mastered the clarinet and then the alto sax in quick succession. By the early 1930s, he was playing at a string of clubs across the country, as a part of other people’s bands and leading his own.

The Nazi occupation brought danger as well as a suppression of music. Officially, Black musicians were banned from playing. Some, however, continued to play at unofficially sanctioned clubs until 1944. There were also “house concerts”, held illegally in people’s homes. Because these were off the record, it’s hard to know where exactly Kid played.

It was a difficult and scary time, but Kid hung on and survived the war. With liberation came a musical resurgence. He toured around Europe with established bands, then came back to the Netherlands and developed a new style of music. While basically in residence at Café Casablanca on the Zeedijk, he developed what some called “Paramaribop”, a style of jazz that had deep Surinamese influence. His music was ahead of its time and continues to inspire musicians today.

Questions about this story:

Below are a few questions specific to this story:

Is this your last story?

We sent you several stories to read through. If this is your last story, click the button below to fill out a few general questions we have for you.