Cotton Club All Stars
Amsterdam Jam
Hi5 Records, 2007

Rays of sunshine, shining in from the Nieuwmarkt through a crack in the door into the twilight zone at the back of the café, reach regulars whispering about the good old days. The un-expecting stranger tastes the aroma of past times. Photos of musicians on the wall act as silent witnesses to distant stories.
In the corner of this bar a quartet can be found playing. Jazz.
On 'Amsterdam Jam' you can smell the odor of this famous Amsterdam establishment - The Cotton Club. Famous for its history, its guests, its owners and last but not least its musicians. The trio Dirk Balthaus (piano), Anton Drukker (double bass) and Dick Verbeeck (drums) are joined in turns by the tenor-saxophonists Dick de Graaf, Guus Crommelin, Efraïm Trujillo and Jorg Kaaij on tenor- and soprano sax. The repertoire? Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Dexter Gordon, Charlie Parker and Billy Strayhorn. And Trujillo and Kaaij each with an own composition.
Maybe in first place a compliment to Dirk Balthaus and Joep Lumeij who are responsible for the recording technique. They managed to make this studio recording sound like a live recording reminiscing the intimate sound of the Amsterdam Cotton Club where every Saturday afternoon, jazz music can be heard. Close your eyes and you will be transported into this infamous bar where your hands will be itching to applause each solo.
The playing? Swing, up-tempo, ballades, a bit of Latin. Saxes that sound fat, rough and melancholic, which are driven by the swing and the rhythm of the trio. 'Amsterdam Jam' is jazz like jazz is life itself. Marked by improvisations, a mix of styles, moving accents, changing rhythms and swing. 'Amsterdam Jam' is a tribute to jazz. A formidable CD, featuring excellent musicians. A compliment to Dutch jazz!

Published in Jazzflits year 5, number 10 (2007) © Frank A. Huser