After a smooth flight into Amsterdam and an enjoyable train ride to Rotterdam, I finally reached my apartment and to my surprise, it is even closer to the Ahoy location where the festival takes place than I expected.
My host Mike was kind enough to give me his bike for the weekend and it only takes me about 5-10 minutes to get to the venue.
As you know, the North Sea Jazz Festival is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. I have visited Europe’s biggest indoor Jazz festival since the late 80s when it was still located at The Hague. As usual, it will be hard to decide which artist to check out as a lot of them will play simultaneously. I think I’m going to start out with Jarrod Lawson tomorrow (at Congo) to see if he has taken some new songs into his act since I last saw him in Paris and Berlin earlier this year (see review on these pages). I will then check out Lizz Wright (Darling) who will have a new album out in late summer and maybe she’s showcasing some of her new songs as well.
My next choice is probably going to be Cassandra Wilson (Hudson) whose latest album of Billie Holiday songs will be on offer and I haven’t seen her with this particular project yet. And my personal highlight for Friday night is the Joni Mitchell tribute (Amazon) which is going to feature a lot of brilliant singers like Becca Stevens, Chaka Khan, Michael Kiwanuka, Lizz Wright, and Oleta Adams backed up by a fantastic group of musicians consisting of Terence Blanchard, Brian Blade (who has played with Joni a lot), Myron Walden, Kevin Breit, Chris Thomas, Melvin Butler, Jeff Haynes, Jon Cowherd, and Marvin Sewell. And D’Angelo will be my final set for the night. But you know, it might be a totally different schedule for me tomorrow. We’ll see.