Home away from home

I have always had an interesting relationship with The Netherlands. My mom primarily grew up in Holland after her family emigrated from Indonesia, post WW II (Indonesia being a former Dutch colony). Although, separated by thousands of miles there has always been a close relationship with that side of my family especially with the aspect of having lived in Germany till I was five and spending some summers there as a pre teen. Over the last six years that relationship has grown, not only to family but also to an ever-growing network of friends and musical colleagues.

This couldn’t have been more apparent then a recent show at Zaal 100 in Amsterdam. To those of you from Chicago, it can be best described as a combination of Myopic (all sets are meant to be improvised), Elastic (the small performances space lends itself to seated audience listening) and The Hungry Brain (there’s a bar outside of the performance room that lends itself to extended hanging out).

Although the Bimhuis may be apex of jazz/impro performance in The Netherlands, Zaal 100 is the real soul. It can really act as a meeting & collaboration place for visiting artist and a “workshop” for the rich musical scene of the city. The ever so modest, but fantastic trumpet/cornetist Eric Boeren programs the Tuesday improv series and last Tuesday People, Places & Things mixed it up with some of the great players from the city including Eric, the ubiquitous trombonist Wolter Weirbos, one of today’s  most exciting keyboardists Cor Fuhler and the young energetic keyboardist Oscar Jan Hoogland (who seems to be leading a new generation of exciting Amsterdam BASED improvisers – not exclusively Dutch).

Beyond the great crew that we mixed and matched with the crowd was also full of musical friends such as reedist Michael Moore and the beautiful drummer Michael Vatcher.  Colleagues/organizers/mangers Carolyn Muntz and Danille Oosterop.

And then there were the family and friends, in addition to these folks and just simple listeners, my brother Donnell, “cousin” Robil and old High school classmate Brendan O’Connor (with a herd of work colleagues) were present to listen and hang as well.

Since I see many of these musicians multiple times a year and I’m in Amsterdam at least 3 times a year I’ve started feeling that it really is my second city. From the family relations around the country, to the found relationships of musicians (many of whom I was great fans of before meeting) and the new friends and colleagues, I don’t think that there is any place on earth that would make me feel more at home.

Thanks Eric for putting the night together and of course to Ron for his indispensable work in producing shows at Zaal 100, the Bim and I’m sure many other spots.


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