On Saturday 12 October 2019, the third edition of Mondriaan Jazz took place in the venues Paard van Troje and the Koorenhuis in Den Haag, the Netherlands. On the preceding Friday there was the traditional kick-off sold-out concert at the Koorenhuis Venue; performed by the UK based trio Phronesis.
Phronesis played pieces from their last album combined with older works. Entertaining, fast, with humour and it was clear to see how these guys cooperate like a machine. And although they’ve played together for 14 years it is never routine. They are always trying to push themselves to a higher level with a lot of improvisation.
On Saturday the festival was played in four spots. Three of them in the Paard van Troje venue and the other in the Koorenhuis, which is located opposite. Maybe it was the rain? Not many people crossed the street that day to see the concerts in the Koorenhuis. A pity because at least two of the best concerts were being held there (Miguel Zenon Quartet and Camila Meza and the Nectar Orchestra).
The Paard van Troje’s atmospheric venue had the most interesting concerts, which included; Yelfris Valdés (Cuba) with his attractive tropical trumpet sound, Ayanna Witter-Johnson (playing the cello, the composer and with a soulful voice). Madison McFerrin (telling stories, singing and strongly connecting with the audience) and Daymé Arocena (dancing, singing and bringing a Latin smile to the people with her Cuban heart).
A bit of a disappointment was the Chicago Art Ensemble (famous but a little too experimental and static). However to complete the musical palette of this painting the end of the festival was reserved to hip hop. On the large stage there was Blackwave (powerful and fast) and on the smaller stage in the Paard The Lesson GK; an interesting New York underground band with combinations of soul, rap and hip-hop with great musicians.
Looking back; an interesting festival with new names, great names and offering a wide arrange of musicians and music in a reasonable good accessible setting.
Text & Photo Credits: Maurits van Hout
Last modified: November 6, 2019