Somehow this music is like a road movie. From one place going to another. Things in my artistic life come together in Narrative. Narrative is about looking backwards and forward at the same time. And most of all, being in the now. Which is probably the hardest but most meaningful thing in art and life.  As a black kid growing up in the Netherlands for a long time I had no idea where I was from. But yet, I always felt a strong connection with the music (and people) of places such as New Orleans, the Caribbean, Cuba and Africa. A young kid looking for black identity. 

Attracted to different sounds then ‘just jazz’, I felt for the African thing in Louis’ music. When I went to South Africa with Fra Fra Sound in an exchange project I had a magnificent culture shock for months after we came back. We worked with Jonas Gwanga, Johnny Mekoa and later Toumani Diabaté in Mali. A note from another world. Meeting Tuaregs in the desert and kids in a township near Johannesburg. Those were all  important lessons and eye openers. Which lead to the awareness of the African roots in the early jazz from New Orleans and later in (some) modal jazz. 

And then there’s my musical family. I worked with most of the crew on Narrative for the first time thirty years ago, sometimes even more. I met Erik the first day in the conservatory. ‘Shall we start a band?’ one of us said. The rest is history so to speak. With Efraim I formed the frontline in Vincent Henar’s Fra Fra Sound in the early nineties. For four years we toured all over the world, thinking it was the most normal thing in the world. Wiboud is my better half in the adventures of The Legends. I learned to play strictly intuitive with Jerome Hol whom I first saw in an workshop about Indian music as a student,  Harry Emmery is my bass idol for a long time and with Joshua we celebrate our reunion on this album. Narrative is a reflection of a big part part of my life and I’m very happy to share it with you.

Michael Varekamp

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