farewell Barcelona by Frans van Erkel

With Barcelona Sunrise on our head-phones, the city of Barcelona emerged spectacular on the horizon as our plane approached the Spanish coast. We, the Dutch film crew left Amsterdam that morning very early to film Jimi Tenor during his last days living in Barcelona.

Our Spanish cab driver drove us with great precision to the address where Jimi lives, and I found myself ringing his bell. It took some minutes but in the end Jimi was yelling "Hello". We went inside a beautiful old building and entered Jimi's apartment.

With a headache from the night before, Jimi made us some coffee; we ate some strawberries and hummed his new song Strawberry Place. From that moment on this song became our whistling tune for the rest of our stay.

We decided to go to Jimi's studio to film his rehearsal for the performance that Friday at the Sonar music festival. I have always been interested in studios, places where people get their inspiration and do creative things. And creative it was! We filmed Jimi in his lo-fi, no nonsense cosey studio not bigger than a shoebox. Fighting his headache, struggling with equipment, Jimi performed in front of the camera as if nothing had happened. Strawberry Place, Beyond the Starsand Sugardaddy dropped out of the speakers in a genuinely Jimi-esque way.

It was March 2003 that I first met Jimi at the Milky Way i Amsterdam. My question was simple "can I make a film about you"', he said "ok" and I began that same day. Filming Jimi's Big Band that night we witnessed a great performance, with a mighty Jimi and a thrilling Big Band.

in the cactus park

Barcelona can be hot during summer and at nine o'clock the next day the sun was burning on our shoulders. Jimi and his wife Nicole brought their lovely children to the crèche, and I wanted to do an interview with Jimi. Although occupied with filling boxes, and preparing for his move back to Finland he was able to tell some interesting things about his music. Afterwards we jumped in the car to go to one of Jimi favourite places to shoot a small video clip. A strange cactus place is where he took us, and between sharp needles Jimi was dancing like a nymph playing on his flute. And Marco (my DP) brought his 8mm to shoot the thing on real film. The Planet of the Apes was nothing compared to this strange cactus environment.

That is what we are doing: filming Jimi and on the other hand trying to find images, footage and other stuff that will accompany his music.

On our last day Jimi had to play at the Sonar festival. Despite the great weather and thousands of people dancing, Jimi was a bit complaining. "Nobody is playing live anymore, except tweaking turntables and throwing faders up and down". And yes he is right, from the moment Jimi started performing at the booth of radio 3, people were happy to see somebody actually blowing a Tenor sax and hitting his self-made Noise box.

That night Nicole and Jimi took us to drink beer and to eat some sushi. I look back at the great days we spent with them despite their busy schedule. Thank you Jimi and Nicole, see you in Finland.

June 2004, Frans van Erkel

Frans van Erkel (freelance director) and Marco Nauta (D.P) are planning to make this film over a period of time. They hope to finish the project next year and present it as a DVD for all interested Jimi Tenor fans.