…so I’m in a reflective mood. Thinking about my blessings. The phrase “every experience prepares you for the next” comes to mind. Today is September 12, 2009 and this evening I will perform with the 21st Century Band in Den Haag, NL for the Pure Jazz Festival – The Movement. Dion Parson and Ron Blake have been my mentors since I was a kid. I will be sharing the stage with them playing music that is a combination of all our experiences.
Since my arrival in Den Haag, folks have been extremely kind. Victor Provost and I were picked up from the Airport in Amsterdam yesterday and dropped off at the front door of our apartment. Yes, we have access to a beautiful two bedroom apartment in the middle of the city. It is the equivalent of staying in the village in NYC or living on U Street in Washington, DC.
When we got settled the owner of the apartment handed us his keys and said enjoy your stay. He is spending the weekend at his girlfriend’s house. We met the owner in NYC at our performance at Dizzy’s Club (jazz at Lincoln Center) and now we are staying at his house. We began our day acclimating ourselves with our surroundings. We were both exhausted because we watched movies all night on our eight hour flight from DC to Amsterdam. KLM Airlines had an amazing selection of movies, games, music, etc on your own personal entertainment system. Plus the food was good and I kept asking for more. They served Dinner, Breakfast and i had plenty of snacks throughout the flight.
Ok, back to exploring the city. Victor did not bring a coat so we decided we will walk around and see what they had on sale. The plan was find inexpensive jacket to hold him over. As we walked around we saw many folks riding their bikes. They would pull up to a quaint restaurant, sit down and socialize. The city is charming and clean. Trolleys, mopeds, bikes pass us on our search for a jacket and some food. We saw about four McDonalds, a KFC and H & M on our quest. Victor and I both agreed that we refuse to eat at McDonalds. McDonalds tastes better over seas but I love experiencing the culture/local food of any city I visit.
At this point, I’m beyond tired but I…MUST…STAY…UP…We walked into a little convenient store. Across the street from us there was an accordion street musician and two doors down a guy getting ready to play his electric guitar. SMH…We went into the store found some essentials and left despite the language barrier. We made our way back to the apartment, I practiced then took a short nap because rehearsal was scheduled for 2pm. At 1:30pm, we learned rehearsal was cancelled. More sleep? maybe a little but i was wired. We left the apartment and got some sandwiches from a local deli. The lady greeted us in Dutch “goedemorgen”, we replied in English and she switched to English automatically. This was our experience in many stores. I thought to myself, I have to learn another language.
Around 6:30pm the door bell rang. Our guide came to escort us to meet Reuben Rogers, Dion and Carlton Holmes for dinner (Ron was not at dinner due to responsibilities for Saturday Night Live in NYC). The promoter, his wife, their five month year old daughter and friends also joined us. We drank, ate and talked until 10pm. A few of us walked to a local jazz club after dinner. It was beautiful seeing folks from another country expressing their love and passion for jazz. At 11:30pm I was fried. Victor and I made our way back to the apartment. By the time my head hit the pillow I was out….