REVIEWED IN BRIEF: Showcase Reactions from jazzahead! 2018

Jazzmeia Horn – chosen by Dominic Reilly
Photo Credit: Kat Pfeiffer

Sebastian writes:

The 39 bands which played at the showcases (rather than the full 40 - Anna-Lena Schnabel's Quartet had to withdraw) are selected from a total of roughly 600 entrants. There is so much else going on at jazzahead!, very few people – and I am no exception – get to see all the showcases. So I asked a few people to write in brief about their favourite bands from the showcases. Please add more! 

I really enjoyed Philip Clemo's set – he's doing interesting things with visuals and I loved the unusual instrumentation (Mary James – artist management, UK)

Jazzmeia Horn has an amazingly versatile voice and a strong backing band (Dominic Reilly – promoter, Dublin, Ireland)

Hermia/Darrifourcq/Ceccaldi in Hall 7.1 on Friday were outstanding, and had my full attention throughout their set, drawing me in with high-energy group interaction. Valentin Ceccaldi on cello laid down a strong interweaving rhythmic foundation in partnership with drummer Sylvain Darrifourcq, allowing saxophonist Manuel Hermia to ride the waves with his compelling and adventurous improvising. A treat indeed. (Dee Byrne – saxophonist, UK)

It was astonishing how the visual artist in the Australian group Mn'JAM Experiment was able to lead and direct the improvisation – especially on the last tune with a series of faces. As a way of interpreting a graphic score this was something wholly new to me. (VIDEO from 8:23:40)(Lukas Niggli – drummer, Uster, Switzerland)

Shake Stew, an allstar-group comprised of the most versatile young players in Vienna, blew the roof off of the Schlachthof on Friday night. Astonishing interplay between two drummers and two bassists respectively, plus a terrific horn section made for a hypnotic sound somewhere between North African trance, Afro-Beat and Souljazz. (VIDEO) (Jan Paersch – journalist, Hamburg)

I was made aware of Aly Keita's concert by his agent. Exiting my meeting next to the hall, I caught the 2nd half of the show. The combination of balafon, clarinet or saxophone and bass drum melded well - and Keita is a real master on his instrument. (Tobi Kirsch - publicist, Berlin)

Daniel Erdmann's Velvet Revolution - chosen by Tom Hewson

I was lucky to see Janette Mason’s Red Alert Clubnight for Dot Time Records which was a mixture of Mason’s arrangements and originals with her piano trio featuring Tom Mason on bass and Chris Morris on drums. Her tunes were engaging and exciting and demonstrate Mason’s depth of creativity and complete passion for jazz. Thoroughly enjoyable. (Lauren Bush - vocalist - London)

Daniel Erdmann's Velvet Revolution really stood out for me – I was captivated by the viola and violin playing of Théo Ceccaldi, and it was a treat to hear Jim Hart in such detail and sonic space. VIDEO from 1:20:30 (Tom Hewson – pianist, UK)



Acá Seca Trio in Hall 7.1 was the perfect finale for Jazzahead! 2018. The combination of piano, Spanish guitar, percussion and three voices transported me to Argentina. The trio ended the show singing a capella from the middle of the audience. Their beautiful harmonies and emotional phrasing got them a standing ovation. (Nora Jorba – booker/agency, London, UK)



What I really enjoyed about the set from Gregory Privat's trio was how they could sound very poetic and soft, and also dynamic and surprising at the same time. A very fluent way of traversing through music, telling stories that seemed deeply personal. Picturesque, authentic, I just loved it and afterwards it felt as if I had been taken on a trip to Martinique! (Kat Pfeiffer - photographer, London)

I appreciated Piotr Damasciewicz/Power of the Horns most. They were the last group of the Polish night on Thursday: Good group interplay and especially a tasteful and interesting drum solo from a drummer (Samuel Hall) with total independence of both hands. (Constantin Sieg – radio presenter, Marburg, Germany)

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