With one of Europe’s finest conservatories and a great number of musicians from all over the world, Amsterdam has a very interesting jazz scene. And just like in New York, Amsterdam’s jazz musicians love to practice their ‘chops’ in front of an audience rather than in a hidden studio. So the city has a couple of good jam sessions but most of them come and go in a short time… because leading a session is an art! And Daan Herweg is the most dedicated leader that I know of. He started the Nel session in 2009 and he’s hardly ever missed a Monday night, even when he was touring with international star Caro Emerald. He knows how to keep the perfect balance of giving everybody a chance while always holding the musical level at a high standard. Apart from that, he’s an amazing pianist himself and has a huge worldwide network — that’s why on a lucky night you might as well hear some big American names that are passing by on tour.
Not that I’m such a frequent session player, but whenever I feel like joining in somewhere, Nel is always my first choice!