We know Michiel Braam as a pianist who moves outside the mainstream, being quirky and explosive, having flogged several pianos mercilessly. 'The Curaçao Experience', his latest Nos Otrobanda album, shows his very different, softer side. The trio is fully focused on playing traditional music from the Antilles: mazurka, danza, tumba and the Antillean waltz. Music which was especially very popular in the first half of the last century in the West Indies and was dominated for years by the musical Palm family. For many years Braam has felt attracted to one of the last representatives of this music, the Antillean pianist Edgar Palm, who died in 1998. Ultimately he recorded this tribute to Palm, even though Edgar comes from a very different musical world than the improvised music Braam is normally associated with. Braam does not exclusively play the traditional role of an Antillean pianist; his sensitive, authentic, respectful and sometimes poignant playing makes it almost unbelievable that he was born and raised in Nijmegen and not in the class quarter of Otrobanda on Curaçao. Braam indeed improvises, but very subtle as if he, above all, doesn't want to harm the original. On some occasions jazz rhythms make their way to the surface. This album gives peace and breaths a cheerful atmosphere. Perfect to listen to on a tropical night and to dance to, ultimately the aim of this Antillean music.
Tom Beetz, JazzFlits