Monthly Archives: May 2017

Art Blakey’s “A Night at Birdland”: a tribute

“WOW! First time I enjoyed a record session!”. Those were the words of drummer Art Blakey about the legendary concert in New York’s Birdland Club on February 21st, 1954. For myself and many other musicians the recordings of that evening – made by the Blue Note label – have made a major impact. Trumpet player Clifford Brown has been my hero ever since.  Just listen to the way he plays the ballad “Once in a While”. And I don’t think I ever heard Lou Donaldson play so inspired as on this session. The pieces that Horace Silver wrote are lively and energetic, while the blowing changes are a feast.

Together with alto player Donald Simoen we decided it would be great fun to play this repertoire. And as this only works with the best musicians around, I’m very proud to have pianist Miguel Rodriguez, bassist Marius Beets and drummer Sander Smeets join forces.

The funny thing is that as I was searching for some information in the record, I found an old newspaper interview where I explained how this record changed my life.