Highlight in my opinion of the 2016 edition of the North Sea Jazz festival in Rotterdam was the Scofield Mehldau Guiliana trio. Man, this was really funky.
(Photo: Joke Schot)
Mehldau played on Grand Piano, Fender Rhodes, Prophet 08 and Moog Little Phatty. When Scofield played his solo's, Mehldau played bass on the Moog, while Scofield played bass guitar (on a stand) while Mehldau was soloing. Guiliana played very strong and funky on drums as well as some electronic pads in between. A real highlight on the NSJ 2016. You can also get an idea of the concert right here:
About a year ago I watched Henderson, Berlin and Chambers in Zoetermeer (see article below). Now a year later it was time for a second concert. In the meantime they have been working at some new numbers in their setlist, and also a new CD called 'HBC' is coming up. Some of their new numbers include 'Elegant People' and 'Db Waltz' from Weather Report, nicely performed. Again, it was a good concert with Henderson in the lead, but this time also some room for Chambers to include some poly-rhythmic drumming. Next year I will be there again!
Yesterday Henderson, Berlin and Chambers visited The Netherlands to perform in 'De Boerderij' in Zoetermeer. It was a very good performance, with lots of dynamic changes, rhythmic tensions and solo virtuosity from Henderson and Berlin in particular. The guys had a lot of fun on stage. Berlin not knowing where he ended up this time during their world tour, while Henderson felt at home in Holland because "I'm on acid". They played blues stuff, own interpretations of Weather Report's 8:30 album, Shorter's footprints and Hancock's actual proof. One of the finest heavy fusion jazz acts I've seen lately.
What a concert! John McLaughlin played with his 4-member group 'the 4th dimension' on the North Sea Jazz festival 2011 in Rotterdam. A lot of recent work with a double role for Gary Husband playing both keyboards and now and then drums too. On bass Etienne M'bappe and on drums Mark Mondesir. One of my favourites during the packed North Sea Jazz festival.
I always wanted to do a top 10 of synthesizer solos in Jazz/Fusion/Soul. Although the list is not strictly limited to this type of music, most of them are Jazzy/Improvised style anyway. If you have any remarks or other suggestions please let me know. This is my list:
1) Michael Brecker/Steps Ahead - In a sentimental mood Synth: Oberheim Xpander driven by EWI Great improvisation by Michael Brecker on EWI. Very expressive synth sound controlled by breath and usage of large note range through octave rollers on the EWI. You can also hear Mike Mainieri on Memorymoog.
2) Herbie Hancock/Chaka Khan - And the melody still lingers on/A night in Tunesia Synth: Clavitar driving Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 rev 2 Nice screaming lead sound played on a remote keyboard called the Clavitar.
3) Joe Zawinul/Weather Report - Db waltz Synth: Rhodes Chroma expander Typical weird solo sound used by Zawinul played through the Chroma expander.
4) Scott Kinsey/Tribal Tech - Sheik of Encino Synth: Nord lead 3 Nice overdriven/filtered sound with fast lfo octave modulation.
5) Pat Metheny - Are you going with me? Synth: Roland GR-300 guitar synth driven by G-808 guitar Classic trumpet/brass sound used by Metheny.
9) Gary Wright - Are you weepin' Synth: Minimoog One of the first to experiment with (portable) moog synths on stage in the '70s. This is a classical moog lead sound with heavy glide.
10) Jan Hammer - Miami Vice theme Synth: Minimoog Classic tune of Miami Vice TV series theme. Jan Hammer trying to emulate a guitar-like overdriven synth sound
Note: by no means are the above samples intended to violate any copyrights, it just serves to demonstrate (a part of) the particular synthesizer solo. If you want to support the artist, you can click the iTunes link to buy the song or buy the complete album of the artist which I strongly recommend if you don't own the music already.
Every year during summer there's this great Jazz festival in the Netherlands called the North Sea Jazz festival. Offering a wide range of 'jazz' music, stretching from Sonny Rollins to Stevie Wonder, there is always something interesting to see and listen to. Of course this formula is the only way to really attract enough people to be able to organise such a mega music event. See also my article about Jazz Lovers, an endangered species. Read more...
The first concert of the Bill Evans Robben Ford band 'Soulgrass Meets Blues' featured mostly pieces from Robben Ford with a lot of bluesy influences and singing from Ford himself. Robben Ford took his drummer Toss Panos on board while Bill Evans introduced Ryan Cavanaugh on banjo and Etienne Mbappe on bass. A good concert for blues lovers where Ford and Panos in particular found each other, with fluent tenor and soprano sax lines from Evans on top. The only hint from the past when both Evans and Ford played with Miles Davis was when playing 'Jean Pierre', with that particular solo line that Davis hated so much according to Evans. The bass lines from Mbappe where OK but not very punchy what we've been used to when playing with Zawinul. Perhaps this was due to the poor bass sound amplification. Also Cavanaugh was not totally lined up in this new setting yet. Perhaps not satisfied himself he regularly switched between clean banjo sound and distorted guitar sound. Since this was the first concert in a series, some additional playing will be needed to get everybody tightly lined up. Nevertheless, for blues lovers it was a fine night.
This week the Swedish Spotify announced a deal with Buma/Stemra, the organisation representing music author rights in the Netherlands. It also signed deals with record companies. This means Spotify can now legally offer their on-line music services in the Dutch market following the Scandinavian countries, UK, France and Spain. Similar to French competitor Deezer, Spotify offers streaming music services: music can be streamed to PCs or mobile phones (Symbian, Android, iPhone). Downloads, although not Spotify's main focus, are also possible. Other features include sharing playlists on Facebook, as well as artist radio, a Pandora-like service.
Will Spotify succeed? There have been and still are a number of local and global companies that have tried to offer unlimited music streaming services but none of them have been very succesful so far. Read more...
Jazz lovers will slowly die. A prediction made by Arno Prins of Dutch research agency TimBoodle who made a study of the typical musical taste of the Dutch people. Most people tend to stick to the music from their youth which is not jazz anymore. Miles Davis is the most popular jazz artist, among male jazz lovers Weather Report is most popular.
The research was done among 7,800 people of 12 years and older. People were asked about their musical preferences, including 12 subcategories of jazz: nu, cool, free, acid, latin, soul, New Orleans, bebop, hardbop, swing, vocal and fusion jazz. Read more...
You never know exactly what to expect with John Scofield. Ranging from acid jazz, improvised funkjazz, and modern jazz to blues, Scofield plays a lot of different styles. This time a more classical jazz approach with Bill Stewart on drums, Mike Eckroth piano/organ and Ben Street acoustic bass. The latter two are relatively unknown and have their origin in the New York jazz scene. Nice improvisations on mostly own tunes, ranging from an occasional jazz ballad to up-time swing. Besides grandmaster Scofield, Eckroth performed very well. Apparently Scofield enjoyed the enthousiastic audience and after 10 tunes and one extra tune it was time to wish everybody a 'no-ash' safe journey home.
Not knowing exactly what to expect I visited the concert of Allan Holdsworth, ex-Zappa Terry Bozzio and ex-King Crimson Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto in the Boerderij Zoetermeer. As Terry Bozzio explained during the performance, all music would be 100% improvised, played for the first time, and no rehearsals had been taking place. The result was a strong percussion/drums oriented improvisation with Mastelotto often taking the lead with a basic groove and nice electronic percussion effects, rounded off with fills from Bozzio. On top of this some typical washy swelling Holdsworth chords with an occasional solo, added with bottom-end and distorted chords from Levin. For beat/percussion lovers it probably was an inspiring concert, to my taste it was a little too free format with lots of repetition going on and too little harmonic/melodic surprises mixed in. But hey, what can you expect, if everything is completely improvised: rhythm dominates!
Since Gino Vannelli moved from Canada to Amersfoort in the Netherlands, he is back on stage again after a few years of relative silence. In the Boerderij he played with Dutch musicians, and all of the famous hits as well as some new songs passed by in new rhythmical/harmonical arrangements. Gino is also working on a book this time, devoted to his so called 'crazy life' he lived for so many years, rushing from one place to the other, going in and out hotels. Actually one of the musicians read a preview of the book on stage which is due to come out during summer 2010. Gino is one of the masters of contemporary pop/jazz, and his voice is still as strong as ever.
Bass player Richard Bona played for a full house at Tivoli in Utrecht. I had seen Bona for the first time when he joined the Zawinul Syndicate. Already then, he had the opportunity to sing in his native language while playing/soloing bass guitar. Unlike many other jazz/fusion acts, Bona is a true performer, telling stories, jokes, musically referring to well known songs, i.e. entertaining the audience. Good performance!
I hadn't seen the Yellow Jackets since they performed on the North Sea Jazz festival some years ago. Slowly the sound of the 'Jackets' is becoming more jazzy during the years, which is a good thing. The surprising elements are more frequent, but perhaps harder to grasp and listen to for the fans of the more smoother fusion sound from the past. Mixing both styles is what sets the Yellow Jackets apart from many other acts. Nice concert!
Together with the NAMM show in Anaheim CA, the Musikmesse in Frankfurt Germany is the place to be for looking at new musical instruments and gear. Besides this, a lot of musicians are hired in to demonstrate new equipment. In the video you will see some short impressions of Etienne Mbappe, Joey DeFransesco and Jonas Hellborg playing at the Musikmesse 2010 on the 26th of March.
I like music, especially making music. I listen to a lot of different stuff, but I like soul, jazz and fusion music most. I like to develop and experiment with tools to make music performance and improvisation on the spot more exciting. It is fun when unexpected musical things happen during a performance!
In recent years I developed the MIDI real-time Harmonizer, a tool for generating harmonized chords when playing a solo line. Inspired by the work of saxophonist Michael Brecker, I started to develop this tool to run on Mac and PC. Brecker played the Electronic Wind Instrument and used the Oberheim Xpander synth to generate random chords from an EWI solo line. Now you can accomplish the same thing with the MIDI real-time Harmonizer driving your own favourite (plugin) synths.