Label Cloud

dinsdag 28 oktober 2008

Skoda Jazz

After Belga and Audi, Skoda has taken on the role of music promotor with the Skoda Jazz festival (22 september -13 december 2008). A number of dope artists have already done their thing (Herbaliser, Seun Kuti, Omara Portuondo, Jeff Neve, Amon Tobin, Horace Andy), but there is more greatness to come. My pick for the next few weeks:

  • Nov 4: Chick Corea & John McLaughlin: Five Peace Band: what can I say? These guys played on Miles Davis' Bitches Brew record, followed by succesful groups (Return to Forever, Mahavisnu Orchestra) and solo careers. (Koningin Elisabeth zaal, Antwerp)
  • Nov 4: Pierre Anckaert Trio: excellent Belgian jazz (Garage 29, Brussels)
  • 5 Nov: Herbie Hancock Sextet: no introduction necessary, remember Headhunters, Maiden Voyage and Rockit to name but a few (Koningin Elisabeth zaal, Antwerp)
  • Nov 14: John Scofield & the Piety Street Band (+Philip Catherine): bebop guitarist extraordinaire, earned his stripes with the likes of Miles Davis, Bill Frissel, Bill Lasswell, Chet Baker, Charles Mingus, Pat Metheny, Joe Lovano, etc. (Motives for Jazz Festival, Genk)
  • Nov 16: Guru's Jazzmatazz ft. MC Solaar: Legendary MC of Gangstarr, the first to extensively experiment with the mix of jazz and hip-hop together with France's first MC to get worldwide recognition. He's coming with DJ Doo Wop and some musicians. Nuff said (Arenburgschouwburg, Antwerp)
  • Nov 23: Chucho Valdés: founder of Irakere, he brings a blend of Afro-Cuban rhythms, jazz, funk, rock and whatever strikes his fancy (Bozar, Brussels)

maandag 20 oktober 2008

Toots the Jazz Master

Congratulations to Toots Thielemans (86), Belgium's (Europe's?) finest jazz musician. He received a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) award. He is now an official Jazz Master (the first European to receive the award). And well deserved it is. Noone who has seen him live, remains untouched by this giant's virtuosity and emotion-laden technique.

Jazz Middelheim (Antwerp) 2008

zaterdag 11 oktober 2008

Good Omens

Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman's Good Omens tells the story of the coming of the End Times. The Anti-Christ is born and soon the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Famine, War, Pollution (Pestilence retired in 1936 after the discovery of penicillin) and Death, will be here to start off the Great War between Heaven and Hell. The problem is that the Angel Aziraphale (who used to have a fiery sword of justified vengeance, but thosee humans looked so cold) and the demon Crowley (who hisses slightly when he talks and had something to do with an apple and a tree) like the Earth the way it is. So, these unlikely long-time friends try to stop it from happening. The child who they think is the Son of Satan, is however a normal human. Due to a mix-up at birth, involving babbling satanist nuns, the Anti-Christ ends up growing up as a relatively normal child in Lower Tadfield, England. And so the race against time begins ...

The book was written when Terry Pratchett's star was starting to rise and Neil Gaiman was working on the Sandman graphic novels. Since then, the book has acquired somewhat of a cult status. Luckily I didn't know all of this when I started reading it. I've been a fan of Pratchett's work since a friend of mine introduced me to the Colour of Magic while studying (ahem) at the university. I only knew Neil Gaiman by name (I had heard of Sandman and American Gods), but I think I will become a fan of his work as well. Although there are some typical Pratchettisms in there, it is most definitely not a Discworld novel. The book has its own pace and character. What is very clear is that the combination of styles works very well.

Good Omens makes fun of the way people act towards one another and the planet (and a little bit of religion). The ending is so wonderfully naïve as to give you hope. But, although the story in itself is very nice, the most interesting part is the depiction of the characters. The story betrays a deep insight into people's motivations, hopes and frustrations. Definitely a must read. And now, to the bookstore to buy American Gods and some more Discworlds.

maandag 6 oktober 2008


About four years ago my mom introduced Hammy and me to two beautiful little kittens, a black female with white socks and a mixed male. We saw them and were lost. They got a little bigger and now they're four years old.

Unfortunately one of them got sick recently and we were forced to let him go. Needless to say that was not a very pleasant experience. The female has been a bit lonely since then. Miaowing incessantly, asking for a lot of attention. So we got her little friend.

I present to you, four months old Zorro!