North Sea Jazz is the perfect place for musicians to meet one another behind the scenes, but this year that will also happen in public with several projects in which musicians are collaborating outside their usual musical circle.

The Drummer Makaya McCraven is inviting special guests to perform with his group Universal Being, pianist Michel Camilo is playing with the horns of the New Cool Collective Horns, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire is performing with the Mivos String Quartet and a rapper for his five-star project Origami Harvest and the Metropole Orkest is featuring the very diverse singers Lizz Wright, Becca Stevens and Camila Meza. Guitarist Reinier Baas and alto saxophonist Ben van Gelder are considered some of the most creative minds of the next jazz generation. Recently they released the album Smash Hits together with Metropole Orkest, which will come to life at North Sea Jazz. A beautiful and exemplary form of collaborating.

Makaya McCraven
Reinier Baas en Ben van Gelder - Smash Hits
Singer José James is giving a one-off performance of his tribute to Bill Withers, Lean On Me, with the Dutch Noordpool Orkest.

On Saturday, the theme at Volga will be one-on-one dialogs. Based on The Seasons Project of Ben Wendel and the concept album Duopoly of Kris Davis, short rotating meetings will take place between musicians from a group of twelve participants who are all known for their impressive intimate playing. Other artists include Aaron Parks, Gilad Hekselman, Mary Halvorson and Kendrick Scott – almost a festival in its own right.

Ben Wendel
Kris Davis

John Zorn Bagatelles Marathon

The same applies to the five-hour-long, all-star marathon of avant-garde icon John Zorn. He wrote three hundred numbers in three months: The Bagatelles. A great many of those pieces will be played on Friday, in Darling, by the pride of the New York jazz scene. We have the legendary band Masada, many greats including John Medeski, Ikue Mori, Dave Fiuscynski and Craig Taborn, and guitarist Marc Ribot will close the show. There will be newcomers alongside these veterans. Guitarist Julian Lage is one and with Zorn he will let you hear previously hidden sides of himself. To keep the atmosphere at its best, Zorn expects all the musicians to be present for the entire five hours.

John Zorn