Funny how time flies when you are having fun; just like the title of the first Stanley Clarke album I bought ages ago, it is unbelievable how time has passed since the first jazz festival that we have attended with our son who was a merely 1 month old baby then. Compared to the last year’s event, Jazz Middelheim 2012 was very different: It was record-breaking hot, with some interesting water sprinklers and a record number of people attending, notwithstanding the heat wave and extreme humidity. The biggest difference was of course our son, much more than a baby now, he preferred to enjoy the festival very actively instead of sleeping tucked in a portable baby crib.
We have barely arrived at the end of the Flat Earth Society‘s concert but then had the great pleasure of listening to the master Belgian pianist Jef Neve. Following Neve came Avishai Cohen, a bass player, composer and singer whom I had admired since the first time I’d come across one his compositions; listening to this prolific bassist was a unique and moving experience to say the least, especially when he started to sing in Ladino. We also had the chance to listen to some of his arrangements based on some Arabic songs from Lebanon which pierced through our hearts; how could it be otherwise for people for which Middle Eastern musical tradition is not a curiosity but an essential part of their childhood?
Next came Abdullah Ibrahim, the final artist of the festival’s last day. And what a final it was! Ibrahim’s playing never ceased to amazed and hypnotize, and it was combined with a perfect brass and woodwind section. Bringing the best talents and letting them work in perfect harmony is generally a sign of great leadership, and Ibrahim easily proved what a great band leader he was by providing us with an exquisite musical feast.
And now is the time to share a few videos: