OK, so I was about twenty years old in 1996 when David Rockefeller asked me to join this big band, playing monthly on a Monday night in café Meander in Amsterdam. So many great players in that band, I actually felt like going to school. The big Mondays as they were named became very popular, people outside were lined up to even 100 meters away from the door bitch to get in. Everyone was dancing, drinking, grooving and sweating…including the band. And David always drove me back safely like I was his younger brother, with my soaking wet suit and 25 Guilders in my pocket. This was my first introduction to Benjamin Herman, and David and Benjamin were about 10 years older and both phenomenal players, so I have been spoiled by so many talented players around me all the time. David introduced me to many people in the Amsterdam music scene by asking me to sit in for him while he had to perform elsewhere, and there was no better place to learn than the small band of the New Cool Collective, with many long solos and ass-kicking players around me. I remember we were fantasizing a lot about still playing with the bigband when we would be old and grey and a mix of happiness combined with sadness inside tell me we are reaching this point faster than we ever imagined. The good thing is: We still exist and we still play with many of the original members, and I am proud of that.