North Sea Jazz – Day 2

It was even hotter on Saturday than the day before and there were a lot of weather warnings on and off stage. But I had a good shot of freshly squeazed juice out of spinach, celery, fennel, lemon, and cucumber which easily got me through the day.

Jalen Ngonda
Jalen Ngonda at Congo last night.

Newcomer Jalen Ngonda opened the Congo tent in the afternoon. He was playing tunes from his much anticipated new album “Come Around And Love Me”, to be released on September 8th, and songs from his previous album. It was just him and his piercing voice, his guitar, and bass and drums. A captivating, memorable, highly entertaining set.

Pianist Julius Rodriguez, who turns 25 in September, played a thrilling set with Jermaine Paul on bass and Luke Titus on drums. He played music from his 2022 Verve debut “Let Sound Tell All”, like the gospel-induced “Where Grace Abounds” and the fiery “Two Way Street”, which came with a totally different spin compared to the album version where the saxophone leads the piece. And what a thrill it was to hear his interpretation of one of my favorite Herbie Hancock tunes: on “Butterfly”, Julius proved why he is this in-demand player on the scene. There was a lot of soul and funk in his playing there, including some hip stop-and-go moments. He also added Herbie’s “Actual Proof” into his mix and totally making it his own, with the piece circling around the motif in sparkling spheres.

Julius Rodriguez Trio
Julius Rodriguez, Jermaine Paul, and Luke Titus last night at Murray.

I also checked in to the outside stage of the Mississippi where Adi Oasis gave her debut at North Sea. The French-Caribbean singer, seven months pregnant, played a pretty funky set with tracks from her “Lotus Glow” album which came out earlier this year. The fancy “Multiply” and the deeply thumping “Serena” (dedicated to Serena Williams) were included. Her voice angelic and crystal-clear and high-pitched, it seemed that there was even a lot more hiding inside of her.

Adi Oasis
Adi Oasis on the Mississippi stage last night.

Marcus Miller and Jason Miles, responsible for some of the most important, era-defining albums in the 80s and 90s by Miles Davis, Luther Vandross, Roberta Flack, David Sanborn, and Chaka Khan, were talking about their lifelong friendship and working relationship. They really defined that certain sound of that period by having been able to use the latest technology and experiment in the studio until they got it right. They probably belong to the last group of producers and arrangers who actually work together in the studio because nowadays if you have a laptop and the necessary tools at home…Anyway, if you want to get an insight into what they did in those days, check out Jason’s biography “The Extraordinary Journey of Jason Miles”.

Marcus Miller Jason Miles
Marcus Miller and Jason Miles yesterday at North Sea Jazz.

So I wanted to see Kenny Garrett for the night’s final show. I really like his 2021 album “Sounds From The Ancestors” which was the topic of his set. It started out with heavy, I mean really heavy sound problems. Afro Cuban singer Melvis Santa’s voice was dropped off the mix. Percussion and sax were much too loud. When Melvis finally came on, many of the other instruments were blurred. On the next piece, you couldn’t hear her voice again. Which was bad because “It’s Time To Come Home” is such a beautiful composition (sung by Jean Baylor on the album). For me, it was actually time to go home because 20 minutes into the set, the sound problems were still prominent.

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