In 1995 Braam wrote "The XYZ of Bik Bent Braam" for his large band he founded in 1986 and which was a working band until 2012. The program consisted of 26 pieces, one for each letter of the alphabet and was then considered Michiel's provisional masterpiece. The reviews spoke of "a perfect balance between the classic big band idiom and a more contemporary sound", "Braam's compositions are among the most fascinating that Dutch jazz has to offer", "Braam is entitled to a full-time jazz ensemble", "stunningly beautiful", "spectacular", "on top of all insubordination, all pieces contain a small melodic pearl", "particularly spiritual", "belongs to the best jazz recorded in 1996, wherever in the world", "not arrogant or sarcastic, but with infectious kindness", "Braam brings out the best in the musicians", "the most adventurous Dutch jazz around", "This is Jazz as dada, where the music’s hysterical edge conveys an air of unrelenting slapstick". Many reviewers referred to Duke Ellington as a main source of inspiration for orchestra and compositions. The program was presented in two tours and played 3 times over a few years in a sold out Bimhuis. One of those concerts was recorded and released in 1996 at Willem Breuker’s BVHaast label. Later that same year, Bik Bent Braam received a structural subsidy and Braam was awarded the Boy Edgar Prize.
After 25 years, and many concerts with various bands and in various styles, Braam is arranging a special Latin version under the title "El XYZ de Son Bent Braam". In the jubilee year 2020, the new arrangement will be performed in a line-up of top musicians from the Dutch jazz and Latin scenes, not only presenting renowned musicians, but also the top-notch new talents Danny Rombout, Joël Botma, Efe Erdem and Jesse Schilderink. Around Braam's trio Nos Otrobanda, two extra percussionists, four brass players and four saxophonists have gathered. The arrangement contains the styles mambo, bolero, cha-cha, montuno, merengue, calypso, son, rumba, bembé, boogaloo, mozambique, samba, afro, danzón and is suitable for listeners and dancers.
The program will contain the parts Apagado, Bienestar, Chachachando, Duelo, Electricidad, Fugazmente, Guasón, Hipsifobia, Improvisación, Jazzz, Kuratela, Lentomaslentomáslento, Marcha, Noisettes, Obeso, Pico, Quickstep, Reposadamente, Solfear, Tristano, Ultra, Violeta, Wolfitas, X, Yate, Zafio and be presented in 2 versions, with the parts following each other seamlessly. A 100-minutes version with a break between M and N, and in a special 75-minutes festival cut without a break.
Bart van der Putten alto sax, Efraim Trujillo soprano sax, flute, Frank Nielander tenor & soprano sax, Jesse Schilderink tenor sax, clarinet, Angelo Verploegen, Joël Botma trumpet, Efe Erdem, Ilja Reijngoud trombone, Michiel Braam piano, Aty de Windt baby bass, André Groen, Danny Rombout, Martin Gort latin percussion