Veterans such as soul singer Mavis Staples and blues guitarist Buddy Jay performed well at North Sea Jazz 2023 opening night. The diaspora booth was impressive, hosted by Dutch and international singers, rappers and musicians.
The main theme for North Sea Jazz 23 is Voices of Diversity. This might sound a little crazy at a Cannes festival where color is a matter of course from the start, on stage and certainly in the audience too.
But 2023 is the year that commemorates the end of slavery in the Dutch colonies 150 years ago. This also deserves attention at North Sea Jazz, of course. Festival programs have always been much broader than just jazz, but almost all the music that can be heard there can be traced back directly or indirectly to Africa.
So it’s great that the 46th edition of the festival opens on Friday afternoon Diaspora Suite. Dutch artists like Shirma Rouse and Typhoon share the stage with international stars like Laura Mvula and Corinne Bailey Rae. In between, Glenn Helberg and Karen Amatmokerim, among others, will read the scripts. and the Jabbar Metropol Orchestra is here.
It’s the perfect opening for jazz in the North Sea. The suite is both serious and energetic, contemplative and festive. You hear Africa, you hear Suriname, you hear Holland. Well, you hear the whole world. Really cool: British saxophonists Camilla George and Cassie Kinsey, who single-handedly put on an intense match.
At North Sea Jazz, in halls with seating, you usually have a complete migration of the audience back and forth after each piece being played. bee Diaspora Suite Hardly anyone leaves the room prematurely. That’s saying something.
The staples completely surrender
Strange feeling when the great concert is over: Outside the auditorium, North Sea Jazz 23 has barely begun. Now what? The logical follow-up is the emergence of Mavis Staples, a soul singer who became well known as a member of the family group The Staple Singers, around the 1960s more or less the house band of the American Civil Rights Movement.
83 is Mavis Staples now. Her supervisors force her to sit on a chair in the North Sea every now and then, but she gives herself completely. Her voice sounds hoarse and hoarse than before, but that’s not a problem. Great singer, amazing person. She mainly sings her own material, but also sings covers of songs by The Band and Talking Heads, which she turns into pure gospel songs.
now or never moment
Long ago, when the North Sea was tougher than it is today, blues was the only other genre tolerated on stage besides jazz. Nowadays there is a dearth of blues. Makes sense, because all the blues greats are gone and there are hardly any new additions. Fortunately, Buddy Guy (86) is still around and his performance in Maas (In Everyday Life Ahoy) attracts a large audience.
It really is one of those now-or-never-moments, because show is part of existence Damn right farewell tour. named after him signature song Damn, I got the blues, with which he immediately opened the performance in Rotterdam. Wow, those piercing, howling, abrasive notes on a Stratocaster. This is how you play blues guitar.
Buddy Guy is one of the American Founding Fathers from whom British guitarists like Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Jimmy Page learned a lot, if not everything. It’s great that he still attracts such a large audience in the North Sea in his old age. And he won’t outgrow his outfit (dung overalls, Hawaiian blouse and white hat) all weekend.
“Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Freelance organizer. Avid analyst. Friendly troublemaker. Bacon junkie.”