Attracting fans from around the world, the annual North Sea Jazz festival in mid-July inspires a range of surrounding events. Many of the artists stay at The Hague Marriott hotel where, this year for the first time, the Martin Verdonk Master Sessions was hosted in one of the hotel’s large conference rooms, supported by Yamaha.
First taking place three years ago, percussionist Martin Verdonk and sound engineer Lex Amrein organise live performances which are broadcast on the internet. Initially Martin and Lex invited musicians to take part but, as the reputation of the sessions has spread, artists have asked to participate. The Martin Verdonk Master Sessions aims to capture the pure essence of live performance. Verdonk says: “We play four songs and are in and out in four hours, raw and uncut, with no overdubs or Autotune.”
Normally taking place six times a year at Lex’s Triple-A-Music Studio in Almere, the new sessions at the Marriott hotel were particularly special. Yamaha helped by providing equipment and by connecting the sessions with the North Sea Jazz Festival, in order to reach a larger audience.
Alongside Verdonk on percussion and Amrein mixing the sound, the performers were Daniele Chiantese (drums), Lorenzo Feliciati (bass), Richard Hallebeek (guitar), Manuele Montesanti (keyboards), Luka Van de Pol (saxophone), Amber Gomaa and Marvin Timothy (vocals).
Amrein mixed the session on a Yamaha QL5 digital console, which he particularly likes thanks to its reverbs. He also used a Rio3224-D2 i/o unit as a preamp for the multitrack recording to Steinberg Nuendo Live. Amrein routed a stereo mix to a pair of Yamaha DXR12 speakers, which provided sound reinforcement for the exclusive audience, plus a pair of Yamaha HS8s as his monitors. Artists monitoring was via eight pairs of HPH-MT7 headphones.
“We are keen to promote great music via as many channels as possible, including social media, and are grateful to Yamaha for their support of the sessions at The Hague Marriott hotel,” says Martin. “The level of musicianship was very high and we look forward to returning again next year with more great, pure performances.”
As well as supporting the Martin Verdonk Master Sessions, Yamaha also set up an intimate jamming-area in the hotel lobby for the duration of the North Sea Jazz festival. Complete with a range of Yamaha instruments, relaxed, informal sessions took place every night until the sun came up.