The 2017 edition of the North Sea Jazz Festival started with long lines at the Ahoy Rotterdam. But the beautiful weather had everyone in a good mood and no one complained about the extra security.
The minute I walked in, I could feel the festival atmosphere coursing through my veins. Festival goers were studying the schedules and discussing what to see and hear. There were so many promising shows that it was necessary to make difficult choices or accept not seeing complete concerts.
Jazz legend Wayne Shorter kicked off the evening. The “Amazon” was full a few minutes after the concert started, so I decided to go catch the Trombone Shorty performance. I already knew that he is a great trombone player because I saw a concert on Stingray DJAZZ, but, in my opinion, he is a far better trumpet player! The spectators that filled the “Maas” to capacity obviously agreed with me. They went crazy over his circular breathing that lasted over a minute.
Circular breathing is a technique used by players of some wind instruments to produce a continuous tone without interruption. This is accomplished by breathing in through the nose while simultaneously pushing air out through the mouth using air stored in the cheeks. The two saxophone players and the bass player in the band were fantastic entertainers and the crowd had lots of fun during the concert.
The theme of this year’s edition is “Drummers as bandleaders.” One of the bandleaders, drummer Mark Guiliana, performed a nice concert with his quartet. Guiliana is featured on David Bowie’s album Black Star and has played with famous jazz musicians such as Brad Mehldau and Avishai Cohen (bass). He possesses incredible drum skills and is considered the leader of the new jazz generation.
José James may not be a drummer, but his voice was definitely in charge of the rhythm and tempo during his concert in the “Darling”, which mixed jazz with R&B, and hip-hop. His rap skills are as advanced as his singing skills. The highlight of the show was his version of Bill Withers’ song “Ain’t no Sunshine.”
Cory Henry with the Funk Apostles, and later in the evening Usher & the Roots, brought the house down. Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles made the crowd jump around in the “Maas” and kept on rolling for 10 minutes with “Proud Mary”.
Usher & The Roots was the closing act in the “Nile.” Usher is a great performer and entertainer. He still has his famous dance moves and his voice blends perfectly with rapper Black Thought and the soulful music of the Roots. They saved the best for last, performing hits such as “Caught up” and “Yeah!” that made the crowd go wild.
A perfect first day at the North Sea Jazz Festival! Do you want to see more jazz, know what festival you should visit or get to know the artists? Watch Stingray DJAZZ or go to www.stingraydjazz.com for more information about the channel, artists, festivals, and more!