Thursday, April 23
Another trip abroad for the Marnix Busstra Band. Kuwait? Yes, Kuwait. Not the first place that comes to mind when you think ‘jazz’ – but that simply proves once more that jazz is indeed an omnipresent style of music… We’re invited as the main act at the Gulf Jazz Festival, a yearly event.
Unfortunately, bassist Arnold Dooyeweerd can’t come along, but Tony Overwater is more than capable of taking his place for this tour. He, drummer Pieter Bast, pianist Rembrand Frehrichs and I meet at Schiphol for a direct late afternoon flight to Kuwait. We’re happy to find a whole lot of empty chairs in the plane, so we have plenty of space to sit, or even lie down. A very comfortable way of travelling!
Six hours later, a giant Radisson Blu hotel bus drives by to pick us up at Kuwait Airport; ot turns out that we were supposed to bring our own double bass, which we didn’t – so again: plenty of space to stretch out. We arrive at the hotel around 11:00 pm, and we’re happy to find a restaurant in the area that still serves food at that time.
Friday, April 24
At noon, the next day, we get to meet the friendly guy who organizes the festival. He takes us to the venue where we’re going to play, very close to the hotel. We’re truly impressed: it’s much like a gigantic ball room in the hold of an ocean liner. A bit bizarre, but beautiful…
After showing us around, he takes us out to lunch at a fine Lebanese place, where our most experienced globe-trotter, a true connoisseur of the Middle Eastern cuisine, bassist Tony, helps us select the best dishes from the menu.
When we return to the venue for our sound check, we can tell that the organization knows what they’re doing: everything is what you expect it to be, and we get to work with great equipment and technicians.
The show starts at 8:00 pm, and it’s crowded. The audience is very diverse, with people from Kuwait, the US, Europe, India, Japan, China… We’re happy to see that everybody truly seems to like our music, judging both from the comments that we get after the show, and from the number of albums we sell. So yes, the Marnix Busstra Band is ready to conquer the world! Seriously: we feel that the our diversified repertoire is a main factor in our success.
The day comes to a perfect end when a friend of the organization invites the band to his place for a splendid late night dinner.
Saturday, April 25
It’s always good to be able to sleep in after a late night, and that’s what makes for a fine beginning of the day, followed by some fun hours around the hotel swimming pool. At 2:00 pm we’re picked up for a site-seeing tour, taking us to the famous Kuwait Towers that supply this extremely dry country with water.
We enjoy the relaxed ambience of a traditional souk – it’s a day off for most Kuwaitis – and we have lunch at an enormous covered, open-air restaurant. After having said goodbye to our host, thanking him for the perfect organization of this trip, we wait for the bus that takes us back to the airport. Our flight back, we’re happy see, again offers us plenty of empty chairs.
Sunday, April 26
We arrive at Schiphol in the early morning, at 6:30, looking back at a truly fun, relaxed, and musical tour. A tour, also, that has provided us with plenty of confidence in the international response on our music. Hello world, here we come!