After five years and six Middelheim jazz festivals

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Our son turned five years old a few months ago, and we attended the Middelheim Jazz Festival 2016 shortly after that, for the sixth time.  This is slowly becoming our little family tradition, and it is interesting to see how he is perceiving the festival differently each year.

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This is how it all got started back in 2011, and continued one year later.

Having such a nice festival in one of the most beautiful parks in the city is something I find invaluable. It being so child-friendly is another huge plus for us. I will remember his fifth birthday together with Avishai Cohen (one of the coolest trumpet players ever), David Murray, Geri Allen, Terri Lyne Carrington, the living legend Pharoah Sanders, Joachim Kühn, and Zakir Hussain with fingers that can put you into trance (see 2016 line-up for more details).

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A kid has to know his musical clocks and automata: Museum Speelklok in Utrecht

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A few years ago, I was in Utrecht for a project meeting, and I’ve seen signs of a “Museum Speelklok” (see its official web site in English). Even though I was curious about it, I didn’t have much time and had to head back to Belgium. Fast forward a few years: few weeks ago, April, 2016, we planned a short trip to the Netherlands, and Utrecht was part of the plan. So I said to my 4-year-old: Time to explore kiddo! More

The making of a baby jazz enthusiast: 1 year later @ Jazz Middelheim 2012

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Avishai Cohen @ Jazz Middelheim 2012

Avishai Cohen @ Jazz Middelheim 2012

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.

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Arman’s first jazz festival: Middelheim 2011

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Watch the video of Omar Sosa @ Middelheim Jazz Festival 2011

Watch the video of Omar Sosa @ Middelheim Jazz Festival 2011

Long before Arman was born I was dreaming of taking him to Middelheim jazz festival (celebrating its 30th year), but as we approached the festival date, I became a little pessimistic thinking that the weather would not be nice, there would be rain pouring and we would not be able to enjoy the best jazz festival in Belgium. After all, what’s the point of taking a 45 day old baby to an open air jazz festival at a park when it rains and you can’t enjoy lying on the grass? Never before in my life di I follow weather forecasts so meticulously. And on 15th of August, Monday, the final day of the jazz festival, I was pretty relieved to wake to a sunny morning.

I consider Arman lucky not only because the last day of the festival brought sunshine but also it brought a diverse spectrum of performances from romantic solo piano improvisations by Omar Sosa to real avant-garde free jazz performances by Fred Van Hove Ochgot Octet.

Arman listening to music @ Middelheim Jazz Festival 2011

Arman listening to music @ Middelheim Jazz Festival 2011

I don’t know if he really liked free jazz that much, I have my doubts but then I leave the comments to the readers after they watch the following video (click on the picture to watch the video):

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