My brother had a photo exhibition last year at the North Sea Jazz Festival and got two tickets. So just like the old days with our father, we went to the Ahoy Rotterdam for an evening of jazz and other music. I was armed with an analogue SLR camera, telephoto lens, and sensitive film!
Years ago, I used to regularly go to the North Sea Jazz Festival when it was still held at the Congress Centre in The Hague, mostly with my father and brother. But in recent years I haven’t been able to anymore, until in 2013 when my brother held an exhibit of his concert photos. So, we could not miss it this time.
The first concert we watched was by Terence Blanchard, who, in addition to being a gifted trumpeter, is also a film score composer (for Spike Lee’s movies, for example). The concert started a bit flat but took off later on.
Then it was time to explore the festival grounds in and around Ahoy, visit my brother’s exhibit (you can see some of his concert photos on his website), and eat.
Then we went quickly to the big Maas hall for the concert of upcoming talent Lianne Le Havas. Although her performance was initially plagued by excessively loud amplification, she managed to effortlessly fill the large hall with her beautiful songs.
After, we caught the last part of Santana’s concert. Again, it was a full house, and Carlos Santana and his band had the audience swinging with his passionate guitar play.
After having cold beer at the festival plaza, it was time for Snarky Puppy’s gig. These youngsters from Brooklyn played an infectious mix of styles with a preference for funk, soul, and blues. In fall, they are supposed to record a CD at Utrecht in the studios of Kyteman, who also made an appearance and played a song. And hey, there was Terence Blanchard again! It was a spectacular and steamy concert, and the audience in the tent was very enthusiastic!
Next we went to Dutch pride Caro Emerald’s performance, who got the audience dancing quickly with her catchy songs. Dressed in a simple black dress and accompanied by a big band, she got the room temperature in the Nile hall rising significantly.
To conclude the long evening, we went to a slightly more traditional jazz performance by the Roy Hargrove Quintet. This performance had a tumultuous finish with Roy Hargrove crossing the entire room while playing, and the assembled crowd enforced an encore.
It was a nice end to an evening of many different styles of music, which at times only had a vague connection with jazz. But that’s the power of the North Sea Jazz Festival, which always manages to gather a large audience every year. I definitely plan to go again next year!