Monday 30 December 2013

New Cool Collective Celebrate 20th Anniversary

I've written about New Cool Collective several times and have been following the jazz collective for more than ten years. But the band formed years before that, twenty years ago to be precise. They have been playing some shows to celebrate this milestone and end with a big celebration in the Melkweg. Needless to say I had to join in on the celebrations.

New Cool Collective at Melkweg Amsterdam, December 23 2013

When we arrive at the venue, the doors are still closed and a long line is waiting. I still have no idea what this was about, but we decide to go for a beer first. When we return there's still a line and by the time we make it in, second support act Typhoon is about to wrap it up. Fortunately he will return later as a guest. The big hall is completely packed when the birthday boys take the stage. They start out as the "standard" jazz combo, which is the line-up they play the most in. Everyone is in a festive mood, also because it's Christmas in a few days, and positive vibes fill the hall right from the start.

New Cool Collective show why they are the best jazz combo around at the moment and what makes them into a one of a kind band. Jazz combo is not even the right term to describe them, since the band has mixed styles like jazz, latin and afro-beat into a unique genre. It usually results in swinging music that bring cinematic images to mind. Saxophone player Benjamin Herman acts as the front man, occasionally addressing the audience. As usual his enthusiasm is hard to ignore and catches on quickly. The band is playing in a relaxed fashion and every member gets a moment in the spot light.

After a first warm up set, there's a break to set up for the next part of the show: time to bring in the big band. This is the line-up you won't see them use that often. A lot of horn players are added and the band transforms into a show band counting almost twenty members. The songs sound more full this way, but still unmistakably carry the New Cool Collective signature. There's no celebration without guests, so Queax Queax Joans, Ruben Hein, Hans Dulfer, Typhoon and comedian Hans Teeuwen all join in. It results into a colourful celebration with Christmas songs and plenty of laughter. In the final encore everyone returns to the stage for a cheerful version of Slade's 'Merry Xmas Everybody'. And so we raise our glass to this magnificent band for a toast. Let's hope they will be around for at least another twenty more years.

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