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
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.
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
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.