2012 – as I saw it

A challenging year in many ways:

Europe’s economical problems got worse – the ‘safe the banks and don’t care about the people’s savings’ attitude won. Money rules and brought us to the point we are, but nothing seems to change – politicians and bankers continue to spend like crazy and have the people pay – twice: with increased taxes and by giving them worse service in terms of healthcare and education. No wonder the people of Greece, Portugal and Spain are on the streets … and Italy will be next.

A new job and new challenges in that field – but exciting and rewarding. Working with a great group of people, dedicated and interested makes everything so much easier. OKeh will have the first releases coming soon – John Medeski solo piano, Dhafer Youssef with his group and special guests, Bill Frisell and Dave Sanborn & Bob James in an intimate jazz setting. Plus maybe one or two more before the summer festival season ….busy times ahead.

December brought still a bunch of great concerts: Chick Corea with Christian McBride and Brian Blade – simply amazing how these guys go deep into the music they perform and create something so beautiful in their musical communication.

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Us with Christian and singer Eva Cortes, backstage after the show.

La Shica, whom we had seen earlier in the year, had a run of 6 Thursdays in November/December at the Cafe Berlin in Madrid. Not her regular program, but one between records and a great one – cabaret, songs from various times and all a bit naughty, presented by a great performer and singer. Every night was packed and both times we saw her, we were amazed how much control she got over the room and how she kept the attention of the audience over hours, just being accompanied by an acoustic guitar.

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Last, but not least, we saw Las Migas, the group Silvia Perez Cruz started with – they got a new singer and, wow, she can sing !! Four young women, 2 guitars and violin plus the singer, from Spain (2), France and Germany, creating a very distinguished sound and performing flamenco in a powerful and catching way. Recommended.

So, what were the highlights of the year(besides living in Spain with my wife and enjoying the quality of life there):

CD’s:

John Surman     Saltash Bells

Gregory Porter   Be Good

Branford Marsalis   Four MF’s Playing Tunes

Kurt Elling   1619 Broadway

Brad Mehldau Trio    ODE

Rolf & Joachim Kuhn    Lifeline

The Bad Plus      Made Possible

Bugge Wesseltoft     Songs

Silvia Perez Cruz   11 Noviembre

China Moses     Crazy Blues

Concerts:

PRISM – Dave Holland, Craig Taborn, Kevin Eubanks, Eric Harland, Rotterdam, July

Silvia Perez Cruz – Teatro Circo Price, Madrid, November

Sonny Rollins – Vitoria-Gasteiz, July

Melody Gardot, –  Teatro Circo Price, Madrid, July

John Scofield Hollowbody Band – feat. Kurt Rosenwinckel, Rotterdam, July

Pat Metheny Unity Band – feat. Chris Potter, Rotterdam, July

Chick Corea – with Christian McBride, Brian Blade, Auditorio Nacional, Madrid, December

La Shica – every single of the 4 times we saw her in 2012

The Bad Plus – + Joshua Redman, Rotterdam, July   (see photo below)

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Discoveries of the year:  rgg, the Polish piano trio that really impressed me a lot and sax player James Brandon Lewis, powerful and spiritual. And on disc, the release of the Keith Jarrett live album ‘Sleeper’ with his European group . Keith, Jan Garbarek, Palle Danielsson and Jon Christensen at their best. Nothing ‘sleepy’ about this recording, except that it was sleeping in the vaults for much too long !!

Read some great books – Ketil Bjornstad, Javier Marias and discovered Hieronymus Bosch, the detective and love to read these well written and sadly realistic stories. Saw some great movies – the uplifting ‘Marigold Hotel’ and Argo most likely the outstanding ones.

And now I am looking forward to the new year – a new cycle as well (according to the Mayan calendar) – whether it will be a good one for mankind depends on us. A bit more respect in the world and less ‘me’ and more ‘us’ would already be an improvement.

All the best for my family and friends. Let’s make 2013 a good one!

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