Arriving the 26th in the afternoon I had some time to settle in my appartment in the West Village (great location around the corner from Smalls!) before going to the Mingus Bigband at the Jazz Standard. Kenny Rampton, Alex Sipiagin, Jeremy Pelt as a trumpet section. Nice!
Next morning a lesson with Laurie Frink. Very interesting stuff, plus I have a new daily routine that I have been doing already here at the appartment every day since (with a practise mute). Evening in the Fat Cat for the jam session with Russian-born trumpet player Vitaly Golovnev. Great guy and nice session.
Wednesday it was very nice weather so I went with the ferry to Staten Island and took a walk in Brooklyn. In the evening concert of Bernstein, Goldings and Stewart. Awesome! And of course jamming the rest of the night.
Thursday I went to see the Frick collection. Some nice Titian hanging there! Coffee with Amina Figarova, who now lives in NY and afterwards to the Guantanamera bar to see a great salsa band: Pedrito Martinez. Percussion player Sebastian Nickoll tipped me about that (he too lives in New York nowadays).
Friday Chinatown / little Italy; some nice food there and the weather was beautiful. In the evening Joe Magnarelli was playing. Session in the Fat Cat and for some serious American diner experience on Washington Square.
Saturday nice weather again: had a long walk to the amazingly big bookshop Strands. I had to buy an American cooking book; always buy some local cuisine book as a souvenir. Then to the New Year’s Eve party at Amina’s. Great food, great atmosphere, great people… wow!
Sunday MoMa day; amazing to see all those famous paintings for real and in the real proportions. Tim Hagans played in 55 bar. Very interesting. But no second set for me: Jon-Erik Kellso was playing in the Ear Inn and I had been told that was a not-t0-be-missed venue. Sat in for the second set and so did trombonist John Allred. Great fun, felt like a party! And some very nice conversations at the bar.
The day after I decided I should wait no longer going to the Guggenheim. They have a temporary exhibition of Maurizio Cattelan, where almost all his works are hanging in an installation in the central hall, like laundry to dry. Very impressive indeed! In the evening I went to Dizzy’s club Coca Cola at the JALC for Frank Wess’ 90th birthday celebration. This was an allstar bigband including Jimmy Heath, Greg Gisbert, Lewish Nash and Claudio Roditi. I was seated next to John Marshall how great is that! More jamming in the evening.
Tuesday was freezing cold! I had lunch with my old classmate composer Merlijn Twaalfhoven. Inspiring to talk about putting goals in your carreer, developing projects and getting things done. After that Metropolitan museum of art. Toooo big for one day! But wow, wow! In the evening I went to the Barry Harris workshop. Great to see Barry again. I just love the guy. Needless to say: jamming in the evening.
Day after that: lesson time! Scott Wendholt is one of the most amazing player I know; seemed like a plan to hear some inside information. Great to just trade chorusses and hear his view on stylistic choices and finding / changing your own voice. Afterwards for beers with bari player Lauren Sevian and in the evening listening to the Jeremy Manasia trio. I would have planned to go to Brad Mehldau trio but it the Vanguard was sold out.
Jan 5th: Nice walk through the city, some shopping and a visit to the empire state building. Just the tourist stuff, but then a lesson with Alex “Pope” Norris. Amazing lesson, glad I recorded it. Useful tips, and great to listen to his ideas. Not only about how to play a melody, or how to develop ideas, but also about his daily practise routine. Plus the trading choruses was incredibly inspiring. Evening to the Jazz Standard for the Tom Harrell chamber music project. Feels pretty funny eating chicken wings while listening to a program like that
Next day: coffee with old friend Jeremy Manasia. Great to see he’s doing so fine. He was already a very in demand player back in the days when he studied with Frans Elsen, about fifteen years ago. Later that day I was invited for a drink and a talk at the dutch consulate, together with all dutch APAP participants. And in the evening Scott Wendholt was playing. Couldn’t miss that one! All originals, mostly based on standards. Adam Kolker was co-leading, Victor Lewis on drums. And of course a bit of jamming afterwards.
After almost two weeks wasn’t easy to say goodbye to my new friend New York. But even more than the pain of parting I feel something else very strongly – and a friend had warned me already: “as soon as you’re there you just get the vibe of wanting to practise like crazy, just like everybody there does.” It’s true: I have loads of new ideas, new material to work on. Very inspired am I.