Monday, September 23, 2013
LIVE IN BELGIUM
I first met Mike in New Orleans in the early 1960s, played occasionally with his New Iberia Jazz Band in England in the 70s, and last saw him the year of Katrina. He had taken the Eurostar over from London expecting to surprise me, but Sylvaine and I ran into him at a sidewalk cafe before the gig and we wound up having dinner together. Reminiscing about old times, we recalled playing at this same club together in...1977! Mike hung up his trombone some years ago to run the family brass business, but he remains an avid and knowledgeable follower of New Orleans music (check out his posts on Facebook).
Apart from the music, we enjoyed walking around the village of Klein-Willebroek, located on a picturesque canal about midway between Antwerp and Ghent. Most of the houses are made from bricks formerly produced in the nearby industrial town of Boom, once a major worldwide exporter of bricks. There is a mix of prewar and postwar construction, with some buildings dating back to the early 1600s. Most of the streets have their original cobblestones. We particularly enjoyed having a drink at the Sachetti cafe, overlooking the canal and the sunlit facades of the houses on the other side. In sum, a most enjoyable weekend. I'm already signed up for a return engagement in 2014.