Friday, June 05, 2009

Courtney Pine energizes Middelburg

Courtney Pine geeft Middelburg energie (Nederlands) Courtney Pine energizes Middelburg (English)

3d International Jazz Festival Middelburg
Hans Koert

When you buy an album or join a concert of a famous or less famous jazz musician you have an idea what you can expect to hear. How many people play a new album in the record shop before they buy themselves a copy? Not so many, I think – most people buy it unheard, because they “hear’ the music they expect to hear in their CD-players later. Most of the time you made the right decision; sometimes you buy a pig in a poke. When you join a concert normally you know what you can expect – at a festival, as a rule, several concerts have been scheduled for one income price like last Sunday evening, the 31st of May, 2009 at the Middelburg Jazz Festival

Zoe Rahman ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

At 8.00 pm Mona Lisa Overdrive – a great Dutch jazz group, almost an all-star band, with great names in Dutch jazz: Jesse Van Ruller – Stefan Lievestro – Arno Krijger and Hans van Oosterhout – no doubt; a great line-up. At 10.00 pm the next group was scheduled: Courtney Pine’s Jazz Warriors. Remembering the name Courtney Pine as one of those hip-hop and reggae jazz freaks from the 1990s I told me wife: I’ll be back early tonight. First I’ll join the Mona Lisa Overdrive concert and then I’ll take a glimpse of the fish-eyed Courtney Pine before I come home ………………….. Well - I had to explain something next morning

Omar Puente ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

Courtney Pine, born in London March 1964, didn’t brought his Jazz Warriors, but a sextet, featuring Omar Puente on the electric violin, Cameron Pierre on guitar, Zoe Rahman at the piano, Darren Taylor bass and Robert Foudjour on drums; four black men and a brittle slim, long haired white Indian woman – a beauty – drinking tea-with-milk poured out of a thermos. What is she doing here between those wild men? Zoe Rahman and Courtney Pine ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

Courtney Pine brought in some flannel clothes to lay down his instruments. At the start of the concert he suggests to give a big hand to the organisation of the festival. I'm happy that they, finally, invited me to play on this great festival. He explained that he loves to make a tribute to the history of jazz – to the earliest pioneers in jazz music, like Sidney Bechet. He started the concert with the tune New Orleans, one of the tracks of his latest album, titled Transition in Tradition. This album wants to be en hommage á Sidney Bechet ( in correct English - a tribute to Sidney Bechet).

Cameron Pierre (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)
His music surprised me - sometimes long-lined Coltrane solos; other tiunes, like in Le Matin Est Noire, seem to have gypsy klezmer folk elements or polka rhythms. Fascinating. In The Sound of Jazz? ( to be pronounced as The Sound of Jazz Question Mark) each of the members fascinated with lengthy solos.

Courtney Pine ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

Omar Puente, the violin player, was born in Santiago de Cuba and learned to play the violin from his father. He was a student at the Estaban Salas School of Music of Santiago (Cuba) and learned to play classical music; at night he played in clubs, the music inspired by Compay Segundo. He played with those great Cuban musicians like Arturo Sandoval and Ruben Gonzales. He made a career in classical music; he even got the first chair in the Nacional Symphony Orquestra de Cuba, but in the evening he loved to play the Cuban popular music. Fifteen years ago he made a choice and became a full times musician in England and played with Tito Puente, Ibraham Ferrer and Eddie Palmieri. Now he is part of Courtney Pine’s band and his violin playing was extremely energetic and rhythmical. Fascinating!

Zoe Rahman ( photo courtesy Hans Koert)

Our tea-sipping lady is Zoe Rahman, born in Chichester (England) and she studied music at Oxford University and jazz at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Her father’s family originates from Bangladesh, which explains her Indian origins and the music of those culture inspired her. She is labeled as one of the finest young pianist in Europe and she performes regularly with Courtney Pine. Robert Fordjour (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)
It is a relief to learn how relaxed and friendly the musicians stimulate each other. In one of his last tunes, Au Revoir, Courtney Pine played one of his fascinating lenghty solos ( It's almost finished he cried in the last bars) on the bass clarinet ( what a great instrument) and on bass flute. The title of an interview with Courtney Pine by Dirk Koppes I found, published in the Dutch Jazz Nu magazine (2000), reads ( in Dutch) Je moet de luisteraar bij z’n kloten pakken ( hard to translate in this decent blog- let's make it as: you should surprise the audience. Well he did.
Courtney Pine ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

Well we have only 5 minutes left ……….. so please clap your hands …… Okay, stop stop stop Well, we have four minutes and 40 seconds left, please raise from your seats …………. Please, join us in front of the stage and when I count to four, please jump all together. Courtney Pine Sextet at the 3rd International Jazz Festival of Middelburg -
Mayi 2009
( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

Within’ three minutes everybody in the audience, me included, jumped in front of the band like overtensed Duracell rabbits ( In Holland we had such a commercial which wanted to show how powerfull these batteries are!) . I went up a five o’clock am and left to Gatwick to be in MIddelburg in time. As we had a long trip today and I don’t often perform in an open air concert I was afraid being too tired to play. But Middelburg, you were such a fine audience – you gave me new energy. Thanks Middelburg!
Thanks Courtney – I was tired too and you also gave me some new energy – and enough stuff to enjoy ! What a great man !! I love to hear your new album Transition in Tradition ( En hommage á Sidney Bechet ) to review.

Hans Koert -

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