PHOTOS: Musical Memories/ Highlights of Jazzahead 2015

Omer Klein. Photo credit: Ralf Dombrowski

Sebastian writes: 

The music programme at Jazzahead is vast, and spread around several venues. There was a partner country programme of French acts, a German showcase, an international night Here is a tiny selection of what I saw, plus contributions from Nicky Schrire and Ralf Dombrowski ... 

Nicky Schrire particularly enjoyed the Omer Klein Trio: She writes:   "Israeli-born, Dusseldorf-based pianist Omer Klein performed a beautifully focused yet exciting showcase with bassist Haggai Cohen Milo and drummer Amir Bresler. Sharing Klein's compositions off their new album Fearless Friday (Plus Loin Music), the trio struck the perfect balance between melodic understatement and virtuosic, meter-changing panache."

An ARTE camera crew and the Orchestre National
de Jazz, Thursday of Jazzahead 2015
I went to the French Orchestre National de Jazz under the leadership of Olivier Benoit playing their prog-rock inspired suite Berlin. The individual talents on display are spectacular. Violinist Théo Ceccaldi scores for the musicality of his playing and for his theatricality. Trombonist Fidel Fourneyron is another hugely impressive player, who has a few more gears to offer than Benoit seems to let him use. The programme, which divided opinion in the hall, was being recorded for ARTE TV.

Théo Ceccaldi of the French Orchestre National de Jazz
Thursday of Jazzahead 2015

Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra

Nicky Schrire enjoyed Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra. She writes: "Led by saxophonist/ clarinetist Daniel Glatzel, this 18-piece working band from Berlin covers a large range of musical styles, textures and instrumentation. Glatzel's compositions are exciting and highly imaginative, often shifting to different sections and introducing new material when least expected.  An entire set or the length of a full concert might have been excessive, but in the context of a thirty-minute showcase, this large ensemble packed a punch."

Vincent Peirani Quintet at Die Glocke

I also caught an extremely careful and poised sound-check and a tiny amount of what others told me was a very strong set from Blue Note-signed pianist German pianist Julia Kadel's trio, about whom there is quite some buzz in Germany.

Ingrid Jensen, playing in Marianne Trudel's Quintet
Jazzahead 2015, Friday

A set from Quebecois pianist Marianne Trudel featuring trumpeter Ingrid Jensen was particularly impressive. There is an implicit respect for nature, a feel for equilibrium which produces a  strongly listened=through and thought-through performance from the whole band. Simple melodic figures are cherished and passed around. She never aggresses Towards the end of the set there was more opening-out, Jensen got earthier and bluesier, Trudel more bouncy and Corea-ish. All in all very involving.

By contrast the Mexicans of Troker had much more extraversion and a love for hi-jinx which had a midnight crowd baying for more.

Troker from Guadalajara in Mexico, part of the Overseas night showcase
Jazzahead 2015, Friday

Guitarist Bálint Gyémánt with Veronika Harcsa
Photo credit: Ralf Dombrowski. Jazzahead 2015

Ralf Dombrowski has also written us a quick summing-up of what he had heard. He writes:

"What struck me about this year was all the singing. It went in a soulful direction with Ed Motta, Fatso, Fola Dada; there was experimentation with Veronika Harcsa or Almut Kühne; we went ethnic as with the Australian Art Orchestra; and super cool Maria Rye. Veronika Harcsa had quite incredible charm, plus her enormously versatile, folk-tinged voice opened vistas into the avant-garde, but she is also a fabulous, bewitching story-teller ...All in all there was just loads going on at a very high level indeed."

Ed Motta
Photo credit: Ralf Dombrowski. Jazzahead 2015


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