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Paul Van Ross visits Edelweiss club in Berlin

September 24. Berlin.

After a day of cycling around Berlin and checking out the Brandenburg gate I was keen to go to a jazz jam. I’d heard about one happening at “Edelweiss Club”.

A half hour cycle with a tenor sax ain’t so bad. It’s annoying when you get lost though, one wrong turn can equal a lot of backtracking!!

So after an hour riding, I finally found the place. IT WAS PUMPING!
The club was situated in a park area amongst a few other buildings and was Full of people. Also full of smokers, but apparently that’s Berlin.

The core band comprised piano, double bass, drums, congas. Guest soloists were a plenty at 11pm when I arrived including flute, alto flute, soprano sax, sopranino sax, and guitar. Both flute players had bug microphones.

After listening for a while I managed to make it to the front and play a few tunes…..
“What is this thing called love,
Beatrice,
All the things you are…”

A very inviting scene, and extremely responsive audience.

Special mention to the soprano sax player in red who managed to drag on his cigarette between phrases in his solo!!!!

Jam got a blues blues and funky sometime later, but managed to accompany a vocalist on a bluesy number.

Had a great time, met some lovely people, cycled home at 2.30am.

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Alto jazz club in Amsterdam

September 19. Amsterdam.

After an exhaustive day of walking everywhere visiting the van Gogh museum and a few other tourist attractions I managed to locate the famed “Alto jazz cafe”.

This hip bar very honey and inviting – Free entry, affordable drinks and a great atmosphere.

Tonight, a Live jazz band comprising mainly Hungarian musicians now living in Amsterdam were taking the stage. Line up: tenor sax, guitar, drums, double bass. Led by Daniel Mester, this energetic group performed a mixed bag of originals and standards including ‘yes or No’, ‘Blues for Bilbao’, ‘Equinox’ and ‘Moment’s Notice’.

Some exceptional playing by the guitarist. Enjoyed the gig. The audience were very responsive and appreciative.
Met the band. Great bunch of guys.

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Final day in Cuba

September 17. Cuba.

Last day in CUBA.

Catching an 8am bus from Havana to Veradero which is where my flight leaves from. It’s a 2 hour trip for $10 (the same cost as a taxi from my apartment to the bus station). My flight departs at 4pm. I guess I’ll have to imaginative with my spare time. Maybe hit the beach?

Mixed feelings. Has been amazing working and recording with arguably the best musicians in Cuba. Have enjoyed learning flute with Evelyn, she was also great to hang out with (I think she wanted the English practice). Didn’t improve my dancing.

Glad to escape the diesel fumes and shifty ways the locals make extra money.

Enjoyed the hospitality and friendly nature of the Real Cubans. Made some great new friends.

So, the customs officer’s name was “Inspector Die”, really. I had reservations about standing at hus cubicle. They had a problem with my passport. Had to wait 15mins, then got probed with questions. Where you are you from? Are you from germany? You came to Cuba in 2009. What is your job? Eventually they let me out.

Transiting in Cancun, Mexico. Immigration wouldn’t let 8 passengers into the country from our plane. Had a huge delay whilst the authorities gave them written reasons why (as insisted by passengers). Delays for all!

Observations:
– guy trimming the grass edging on the footpath with elbow grease using a huge machete. 7am.
– it’s necessary to drive use all lanes of the road in order to dodge potholes.
– man practising trombone on the Malecon 8.30am.
– Cubans love to paint walls. There’s no preparation necessary, just paint straight over the top of the layers of dirt that exists.
– signals at railways crossings don’t work….

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Revolution museum

September 15. Cuba.

Went to the Revolution Museum. Although the building needs severe maintainence, the museum is quite interesting. Unique, as its the only one of its kind in the world. All thing related to the revolution, how it happened, weapons used, processes put in place afterwards….

Spent the evening hanging out with my Cuban flute teacher. Shouted her dinner, sweets and a beer.

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