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Back Roads Beat

2007 North Sea Jazz Cruise: Day 2-3

By Published: July 12, 2007
The Rotterdam's first port of call was Warnemunde, a German small fishing town fairly close to Berlin. Those walking off immediately get a heavy dose of exaggeratedly colorful native kitsch along the streets of countless brat and beerstein souvenir shops, but walk a few hundred yards past the central square and the more authentic subdued beauty can be seen. Both are appealing in their ways and a German music festival offered extra spice for those on the packed tourist seawalk.



Hargrove returned for the main evening concert, this time in funk mode with Carter. After Hargrove's winner and the tantalizing sneak preview of Carter the night before, anticipation was high.



Satisfaction was not.



The first half of the 90-minute show, minus Carter, had plenty of groove and volume, but not much soul as solos seemed to be the safe professionalism of easy hooks and repeat tension builds. The crowd was more into it and that's legit given the band's sheer level of base talent. A few rumors were circulating Hargrove was unhappy about something—maybe it was his status in the billing or his discs not being in the CD shop—and it may have been a factor.



Carter elevated the second half with a big jump in verbosity, screaming the upper registers regularly and keeping the storyline tasty with repeating too many points. Miller picked up his bass clarinet for a horn jam with Hargrove and Carter on "Hijack," and they seemed to loosen up with the aid of a frenzied storm by drummer Montez Coleman.



But as the momentum built on stage, it was unfortunately doing so on the ship.



Rugged waters began causing the ship to roll shortly after its departure midway through the show and by 10:10 p.m. was bad enough people were leaving in notable numbers. I'm prone to seasickness and was among them, since the stage is the worst area possible (high and at an end) and my cabin is low and center. The harshness continued and the possibility of anything further was nonexistent. This, of course, is the very real potential downside of even the best intentioned cruise.



Coming on Day 4: Heaven and Hell - Kirk Whalum, David Sanborn and lingering acts of God.



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