Wynton’s Blog

Flamenco, Food, Fado and Friends

Chucho Valdéz, Mariza and Wynton Marsalis (photo: Frank Stewart)Fernando and I drive into Rotterdam for the North Sea Jazz festival. We stop at Susanna Tadjab's house for a beautiful lunch. She and Remon live in Poortugaal, a suburb. I see a picture of me with Rose, Susan's daughter, when she was about 8. Maybe 10 years ago or 8. We talk about the economy of the world and Indonesia (Susan is Indonesian).

No sound check today. Just enough time to iron clothes, work on my symphony, and finish the cadenzas for the Mozart violin concerto. We get to the gig and are dragging. The first set at 6 is with Chano and Israel Suarez. We don't feel good. The acoustic of the hall is really dry; we have trouble hearing, and we can't get a grip on the groove.

We all know it, and the second show will be different. The great Chucho Valdéz is there and all kinds of other great musicians. Derek Trucks comes through (I love him personally too). He's another son of a musician who grew up with it in his blood. Chucho too! Damn, it’s everywhere. Chano and I rap about the first set. We rededicate ourselves. I know the cats are doing the same thing. We didn't come all this way to play sad. The second show is much better. The next group is led by the exquisitely beautiful and expressive Mariza. Her singing of Portuguese fado is haunting and aggressive and sweet and tender. She has great stage presence and presentation. The audience loves her. The jam session is always a hallmark of the North Sea Jazz Festival.

The JLCO with Chano Dominguez
(photo: Frank Stewart)
Never am I more acutely aware of the death of Al Grey, Sweets Edison, Art Blakey, Dizzy and all the great ones we've lost because they would be here holdin' court. No more. We have to figure out how to pick up this slack. I miss the session which starts around 1 because we leave at 2. On this 20 hour romp, Fernando's wonderful wife Irene is joining. I love her. She's very good humored (her mom is extremely funny even though I don't understand a word she is saying…everyone else is always laughing) and Irene tolerates Fernando's back seat driving when she takes the wheel.

Sometimes it’s too much for her and she makes him take the wheel back. Fernando is for real with these drives. He will go 14 straight hours with energy to spare and never looks tired. He has had a colorful life. We go through the most scenic parts of Italy and stop by a lake outside of Florence. Beautiful (as the old folks used to say),"God didn't make no mistakes." We arrive in Perugia at about 7:30pm. Early.

Walter says the jam session in Rotterdam was sad. He said the rap musicians and some of the other youngsters were so ignorant of music they all ended up just playing two chord vamps all night. When Walter says it, it’s for real. He's a great teacher, patient with everyone and very tolerant of things. Carlos said it too, and he loves playing electric bass. Walter said," Man, we need to teach more classes."
We checkya.


Set list

Set I

Inaki’s Decision
Deep Blue
Bulerias de Portalon
Mendizorrotza Swing
De Cadi a New Orleans

Set II

Blues Walk
Stage West
Bulerias de Portalon
Mendizorrotza Swing
De Cadi a New Orleans


Dato St. Festival>

« Previous Entry

Next Entry »