Lines - September 2002 

Well, here we are. September 2002! Last year, I was just coming back home to New York after performing in the States. My wife and I were being visited by several members of both our families, and friends. After many years of being in NYC for various periods of time, I went to the top of the World Trade Center, for the first time in my life, on the evening of September 9. As I stood there, a young man came up to me and asked me: “Are you Jeanfrançois Prins?”. He was a German Jazz musician and had heard me play in Köln. Leaving the indescribable feeling of being up there, admiring a gorgeous view of my favorite city, we went on to the Blue Note and heard a great concert by Ivan Lins. Life was beautiful.

         On the morning of 9/11, I was getting up early to start writing music for my next recording, scheduled for the end of the month. I woke up to the sound of the radio news, immediately got up and turned on the TV. There, I saw the second plane hit live, and that was it. I was unable to touch my guitar for the next ten days. I feel blessed that neither my parents, nor my wife’s family members and our dear friends from Berlin, who were all visiting New York, and Washington, around these days got hurt. After I made sure that everyone was all right, my first impulse was to go and donate blood. But, of course, I wasn’t able to, because of the blood donation rules (since the mad-cow disease appeared in Europe, no one who has lived there for some time is authorized to donate blood).

         Of course, each of us has his own 9/11 story. After the initial shock, it made me realize even more how important what we (artists) do is. The first two concerts I heard a few days later were Michael Brecker’s quartet and Charles Lloyd’s quintet. It was so clear, just looking at the audience (and the band), how soothing it was to hear (and play) beautiful music. In our best moments, we tap into an infinite source of beauty, and get to share with the public.

         Even though my recording with Steve Davis and Larry Kohut in Sep., 2001 was different from what I had in mind, I feel very proud of it. I had planned to compose several originals for it. Instead, we ended up recording some of our favorite standards and jazz compositions that I had re-arranged, plus one of my originals, written the night before. Everything was recorded and mixed in just a few hours. To me, it is a very honest Jazz recording, with a high level of interaction and organic group “breathing”, all things very high on my priority list.

         The CD came out in Belgium on GAM Records in Dec. 2001 and I am now working on getting it distributed worldwide. I am also working on a trio tour.

         Music-wise, it was an excellent year. I performed a lot with wonderful musicians, starting with my wife Judy Niemack, Michel Herr, Bruno Castellucci, Jim McNeely, Lee Konitz, John Heard, Al “Tootie” Heath, Jerry Granelli, the Janice Borla Vocal Jazz Camp staff (J. Borla, Jack Mouse, Dan Haerle, Floyd Standifer and Kelly Sill), Richard Rousselet, plus, of course, my Berlin friends Meike Goosmann, Andreas Schmidt, Marc Secara’s Berlin Jazz Orchestra, Dirk Engelhardt, Sören Fischer, Paul Kleber, Kai Schönburg, etc…

         Great news: Judy Niemack’s new project “About Time” (which I have arranged, produced and played guitar on, along with Eddie Gomez, Lee Konitz, Café, and David Friedman) is coming out on SONY JAZZ before the end of the year in Europe, and probably early in 03 in the U.S.A. and Japan. The music is a collection of re-arranged standard songs, pop songs and a couple of Judy’s original lyrics on compositions by Pat Metheny and Richie Powell – great stuff. Of course, I’ll keep you posted as far as tour dates are concerned.

         In these uncertain times, I hope that you can find, and share, peace and joy in your daily life.

         I love to get email, so let me know if you have any question or comment about my music, projects, etc…

         Peace,

                  Jeanfrançois Prins