Jazz te Gast is a festival unlike any other. It takes place in Zuidhorn, the Netherlands, for one action-packed day along a tree-lined street. There are 24 short concerts in the beautiful gardens of the villagers and then a final concert with the Noordpool Orkest on the biggest lawn.
I was the Artist-in-Residence, and Geert Drion was my contact.
Geert explained: “The festival consists of 8 garden stages in the main street of our village. Each stage will be programmed with 4 sets of 30 minutes, planned to alternate, so four stages will be playing at the same timeslot. 4 of the 8 stages will be filled with new music. The remaining stages will be programmed with existing ensembles. One of these will be a specific talent stage, hosting young local talents, partly from the Prins Claus Conservatoire Groningen.
“Your main partner will be Marike van Dijk: an outstanding young Dutch musician who will be your ‘boots on the ground’ in Holland.”
In the end, Marike (a big talent as composer, arranger, and alto saxophonist) did most of the heavy lifting, selecting most of the musicians, programming the stages, and organizing the work schedule. The final concert with Noordpool was conducted by Reinout Douma.
The Jones (Dave Douglas, the previous artist in residence, arr. by Suzan Veneman)
Vesuvius (Marike van Dijk, w. Dodó Kis as rhapsodic EWI guest soloist)
I’m Not a Robot (Marike van Dijk) (I took a pretty good solo in my Mal Waldron style LOL)
Polliwog (James Farm, arr. by Vincent Veneman; w. Tineke Postma as hard-charging guest tenor sax soloist)
My Ideal (Marike and Ethan duo)
The Apprentice (Ruben Samama singing his gentle love song arr. Marike van Dijk)
Will (Ruben Samama wild orchestra piece, w, Dodó Kis and Josephine Bode, guest “noise recorder” soloists)
Ti’Thela Ke S’Agapousa (Petros Klampanis, who also guested on highly rhythmic bass)
Orthodox (Reinier Baas, previous artist in residence, arr by Vincent Veneman)
Solve for X (Ethan Iverson)
I think video and audio of the concert may be forthcoming. At any rate, it was all really great. We began the concert with the town brass band playing the anthem of the neighborhood and the audience singing, a truly glorious moment.
As artistic director, I made sure to get Perfidia Replicata, my trio with Dodó Kis and Josephine Bode, another gig. Working at the Moers festival last year with these two astonishing recorder players was a highlight. You have to hear this stuff to believe it.
Jozef Dumoulin makes a Rhodes do extraordinary things. Our duo set included abstract renditions of “Blue and Green,” Bach, and boogie woogie.
Petros Klampanis combines jazz with authentic Greek music. I sweated pretty hard trying to play a fast 3 – 2 -2 for the first time! He’s a great bassist, too.
A straight ahead trio with Phil Donkin (who I know from touring with Eva Klesse) and Mark Schilders was just about the only swinging music I heard that day. I think it is important to keep connecting the dots to a resolutely American aesthetic while curating a European festival. Fun set!
The afternoon began with RAIN. We had to play one set of unrepentant free improvisation to make the skies clear. I suggested to the five of us that we begin with a sustained chord. Magically, a pure D minor seventh was spontaneously created out of the mist. We held this chord a long time! So good!
Many thanks to the volunteers of Zuidhorn: Special shout out to Ben van Deel, who is in charge of location and logistics (Ben also knows why he deserves a extra mention LOL). There’s no reason why a village needs to put on a jazz festival, but, incredibly, Jazz te Gast exists, a magical moment when experimental music and country life interact in unexpected ways.