European Jazz Workshop Big Band in Edinburgh – London Jazz News

Big Band European Jazz Workshop

(Festival Theater Studio, Edinburgh, 21 July 2022. Live review by Mark McKergow)Big Band European Jazz Workshop .

Phone Snap by Mark McKergow

This stunning performance by young musicians from across Europe produced 75 minutes of disciplined, varied and exciting music with no visible scores, arrangements or written parts. The quality of the music bodes very well for the future. The project is led by the sax maestro and head of Glasgow Conservatory Jazz CourseTom Smith

. Five music schools (in Parma, Hamburg, Glasgow, Oslo and Nuremberg) send a quartet of young jazz musicians to work together for two weeks (a preparatory week in April and one now in July). They rehearse and perform in many combinations and settings, and also hang out and go to gigs together (they were at John Scofield’s show in Edinburgh this week). Each quartet puts on their own performance (four of the quartets were featured at Edinburgh’s Jazz Bar on Wednesday across two shows) and then the entire ensemble comes together for a full-scale performance. The evening began with a short and satisfying set from the Glasgow quartet, performing four pieces written by the four members. The bass player of the opening number Laurie Moore authorized rachel duns to show off his full tenor saxophone to good effect, with Dawn Coulshed showing extreme precision in his vocal intonation alongside the tenor. Piece of Duns The sun featured criss-crossing lines for sax and voice, and Coulshed’s beautiful ballad with the working titleNot this , was a highlight with passionate vocals, rich harmonies, and great tenor and bass solos. Drummer Kenny Lyon’s Number The jugement

cast in 7/8 without an irrelevant beat. “When I suggested that the full ensemble should happen without scores or parts, the other teachers weren’t convinced,” says Tommy Smith. “The key is to listen, to be disciplined, and to be brave and courageous.” It wasn’t just an exercise in free blowing though; the musicians had clearly worked together beforehand and the music worked its way through different sections with great flexibility on the timing. “Anyone can take the lead at any time,” Smith says. Sometimes these leads were obvious (a water bottle thrown in the air that triggers movement when it hits the ground) and other times more subtle (little finger gestures and arm scoops). The piece was titled Project Earth: Blah Blah Blah

in a clear nod to Greta Thunberg’s youthful advocacy on the climate emergency. The music started softly with the drumming of fingers, the bass, the note of eerie vibration sounding. It was immediately clear that there was a lot of listening going on, as long chords began to emerge. Then a discarded bottle of water led to the first solo, a strong trumpet contribution fromKristina Franson , with plenty of space around. The music grew with solos from Finn Starmer (violin) as the three singers began to make their presence felt with a combination of sounds and phrases – “Another day – could it be the same?…”. The drummers have set up a big back-beat with a rather ambiguous time (two in a bar?) with a vocalized solo of Regina Heiss and also the first of several vibe passages fromÅsmund Skjeldal Waage

. Now the music faded away again, leaving the soprano sax of Paul Scheugenpflug totally alone and on display in a spacy solo, played with beautiful intonation and a great sense of mastery not only of the instrument but of the entire space – a moment out of this world. This kind of music requires an investment of concentration on the part of the public as well as the musicians, and the crowd was delighted with the silence during these quiet moments. Laurie Moore picked up the pace on double bass before an undulating piano figure from Lukas Langguth

inaugurated a section in 7/8 with Kenny Lyons’ lively drums in the foreground. This developed into a drum section with all four drummers (and four drum kits!) working together in a pulsating fashion and supporting each other. And, at 40 minutes, we have a solid and unambiguous 4/4 rhythm! It’s a nice tribute to these musicians that it took so long to arrive – there’s so much more to explore. And so when it happens there’s the chance to be upbeat and exuberant – the music has taken on an Afrobeat feel with by Tom Fischer clanking electric guitar laid under loud scat vocals from Regina Heiss and guitarist Karl Madis Pennarput on sunglasses and twirl around the back of the stage. The band seemed to enjoy it so much that an apparent cue to move on went unheeded. The end has arrived, with an elbow passage between vibes and tenor sax (Pierre Vecchi

) leading into another jaw-dropping soprano sax solo passage, this time steeped in blues. The band joined us and for a moment or two we could have listened to a big band arrangement.The music changed again, with Karl Madis Pennar emerging to lead the audience in short and long contributions as the beat picked up in heavy funk ( Hannah Skjerdal on bass playing a key role), with vocals intoning “Where were you?…” The funk built up, with finally every man for himself and a big four-bar guitar/soprano exchange. “I’ve waited all my life” led to an acceleration and a huge climax – which could have been the end, but it wasn’t. In a moving coda Cecilia Preste

very slowly and discontinuously sang “Tomorrow everything is over…” which was taken up by the whole ensemble singing “Tomorrow…”. And end. Cue huge applause from the audience.

In his introduction to the evening, Tommy Smith called the piece a “journey”, which he had now heard several times and was always very different. Anyone who has tried to play this kind of open, flexible and spontaneous music will know how difficult it is to keep things interesting even for 10 minutes, avoiding them sounding like creaking doors or just becoming a cacophony. That this great group managed to keep it engaging, surprising and fulfilling for a full 75 minutes is an exceptional tribute to them, their discipline and their cooperation in the moment. The musicians of the European Jazz Workshop

complete list :
Pietro Vecchi (reeds – tenor sax)
Igor Fornaciari (guitar)

Leonardo Badiali (drums)

Cecilia Preste (vocals)
Finn Stamer (violin)
Karl Madis Pennar (guitar and sunglasses)

Timon Kramer* (bass)

Rafael Muller (drums)
Rachel Duns (reeds – tenor sax)
Dawn Coulshed (vocals/piano)

Laurie Moore (bass)

Kenny Lyons (drums)
Jomar Jeppson (drums)
Kristina Fransson (trumpet/Ableton)

Hanna Skjerdal (bass)

Åsmund Skjeldal Waage (ambience)
Lukas Langguth (piano)
Paul Scheugenpflug (reeds – soprano sax)

Regina Heiss (vocals)


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