Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Turning 30 at North Sea Jazz

I have officially left my 20s behind and have entered my 30s! Turning 30 at North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam was a great way to celebrate my birthday with Jaap, good friends, and great music. Thank you Jaap for a wonderful weekend of music and good times.
Jaap is a big jazz fan and thanks to him, I'm starting to become one too. He usually goes to North Sea Jazz with his friend Joost and now this year, I got to go. Once we saw the line-up I was anticipating this weekend for several months. Unfortunately, Joost could not attend on Friday, so Jaap decided we should go for two days. Friday night was important for us because Paul Simon was one of the headliners. Not exactly jazz, but who cares? We were so excited. We were only three rows away from Paul. Here's a picture of us waiting for the show to begin. That's Jaap's head on the bottom. Hee hee.
Paul Simon reminds me of my parents and how they made us listen to Graceland in pretty much every car ride when we were younger. I'm thankful though because now I'm a big fan. I wish my parents were there for this concert, they would have loved it. Here are some videos that Jaap made of 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover and Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes. They're a little shaky because Jaap was dancing along. You can hear my ridiculous singing in the background accompanied by some girls next to us. 
The great thing that I like about these jazz festivals is the ability to hear so many different types of music from so many great artists in one evening. It's perfect for someone with ADD tendencies like myself. If you don't like one performance, you just get up and walk to another room to hear someone else. Paul's performance was great and the venue was packed. After him came B.B. King and you pretty much couldn't room the place was so crowded. We saw bits and pieces of it from the outside while enjoying some drinks.

Later on we went to a big venue to hear Rubén Blades perform some salsa with famous salsa trombonist Jimmy Bosch. From Paul Simon to Latin jazz in one hour...good stuff!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Day two at Jazz Fest, started with a birthday breakfast and a nice long bike ride. Both Friday and Saturday we borrowed Joost's and his wife's bikes to get to the festival. It took us about 35 minutes each way by bike. (That's 140 minutes of bike riding for you math whizzes, something I would have never done before living in the Netherlands). Jaap complimented me on how my bike riding skills and tolerance level have improved. Tolerance level meaning, I don't complain as much as I used to on the bike. That's a huge compliment coming from a Dutchie. :)

Joost suggested we ride the bikes through Erasmus tunnel to see a different part of Rotterdam. To get into the tunnel you have to take your bikes down an escalator, a first for me. Dutch people do everything with their bikes. 
Joost
Erasmus tunnel
Joost is a jazzer himself and a tenor sax player. He suggested that we see Joshua Redman perform on Saturday. We got there early and had good seats. The tone quality, technique, and control this guy has over the sax is incredible. What a great performance. During his last number something happened to one of his keys on the sax, so he didn't add an encore at the end. Joost said, "That's why you don't give your sax to a roadie." :) Despite that, we all agreed that it was greatest performance we heard all day. 
Joshua Redman & Brad Mehldau
 Throughout the day we saw a lot more artists after Joshua Redman including: Chaka Khan, Seal, a bossa nova artist named Adriana Calcanhotto, and Kurt Elling 'Swinging Sinatra' with the Klüvers Big Band. 


Here is a video of us enjoying one of the outdoor sections with DJs on the roof. My friend Erika from NYC and her boyfriend Kars met up with us as well. What a great evening! Thanks again to Joost, Marina, and family for hosting us and special thanks to Jaap for making my 30th special. :)

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