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Enjoy Jazz 2012, Days 1-14, October 2-15, 2012

Enjoy Jazz 2012, Days 1-14, October 2-15, 2012
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Enjoy Jazz 2012
Heidelberg / Mannheim / Ludwigshafen, Germany
October 2-November 10, 2012
Expressed in numbers, the 14th edition of Enjoy Jazz, advertized as a "Festival for Jazz and Other Things," brings up an impressive count: 59 concerts performed in 32 locations, with 265 musicians from 24 countries. Put into words the numbers reveal a most festive setup and a wide diversity of choice. These are the true brands of a major European jazz event happening at the crossroad of three German counties. That alone may stand symbolically for the illustrious lineup featured in this edition. Jazz legends like drummer Jack DeJohnette
Jack DeJohnette
Jack DeJohnette
b.1942
drums
, pianist Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
b.1940
piano
, drummer Billy Hart
Billy Hart
Billy Hart
b.1940
drums
, guitarist Elliot Sharp, saxophonist Archie Shepp
Archie Shepp
Archie Shepp
b.1937
saxophone
and reed/woodwind multi-instrumentalist Yusef Lateef
Yusef Lateef
Yusef Lateef
1920 - 2013
reeds
are performing in three galas.

The North is present by performances from pianist Bugge Wesseltoft
Bugge Wesseltoft
Bugge Wesseltoft
b.1964
piano
and biolinist Henning Kraggerud, live sampler Jan Bang
Jan Bang
Jan Bang
b.1968
live sampling
, trumpeter Arve Henriksen
Arve Henriksen
Arve Henriksen
b.1968
trumpet
, and saxophonists Tore Brunborg
Tore Brunborg
Tore Brunborg
b.1960
saxophone
and Jan Garbarek
Jan Garbarek
Jan Garbarek
b.1947
sax, tenor
, with Garbarek and percussionist Trilok Gurtu
Trilok Gurtu
Trilok Gurtu
b.1951
tablas
collaborateing. Pianist Nik Bartsch
Nik Bartsch
Nik Bartsch
b.1971
keyboard
's Ronin, Britain's Portico Quartet
Portico Quartet
Portico Quartet

band/orchestra
, drummer Manu Katche
Manu Katche
Manu Katche
b.1958
drums
, saxophonist Joshua Redman
Joshua Redman
Joshua Redman
b.1969
saxophone
, and guitarist Bill Frisell
Bill Frisell
Bill Frisell
b.1951
guitar
are names which-together with a fair selection of young artists, like pianist Tigran Hamasyan, DJ Taylor McFerrin, Benedikt Jahnel
Benedikt Jahnel
b.1980
piano
and songer/songwriter Mari Kvien Brunvoll-stand for the notion that renders, in the most spectacular way, the main characteristic of contemporary jazz. And that notion is openness.

Jack DeJohnette Group

Jack DeJohnette's, sovereign drum performance-skillfully complemented by Rudresh Mahanthappa
Rudresh Mahanthappa
Rudresh Mahanthappa
b.1971
sax, alto
's arid saxophone tones, joined by guitarist David Fiuczynski
David Fiuczynski
David Fiuczynski
b.1964
guitar
, keyboardist/trumpeter George Colligan
George Colligan
George Colligan
b.1969
keyboard
and bassist Jerome Harris
Jerome Harris
Jerome Harris
b.1953
bass
-opened the festival with a showcase of superlatives. "Tango African" started with an ancient drum call anticipating the theme, which unfolded in an ascending drum/sax dialogue, pointed by piercing free accents and seconded by minimalistic keyboard pulses, which lent the performance an atonal spatiality. In "Blue," as if illustrating John Keats' incentive-"Load every rift with ore"-the melody played on drums enveloped the controlled austerity of the soundscape like a velvet curtain. "Ahmad, the Terrible" started with a homogenous sound carried by the guitar's smooth sequential touches. The melodiousness of the bass, paired by the knotty harmonies of the sax, was enhanced rhythmically by the DeJohnette's elegant versatility in dominating from the background. In "One for Eric," as if exchanging traditional roles, the rhythm section provided the melody while Mahanthappa's masculine attacks combined with Colligan's firm presence on piano, tore at the sound curtain. The group's compact yet airy performance provided a complex musical experience that stood firm for the meaning of contemporary jazz.

Bugge Wesseltoft and Henning Kraggerud

As if to reinforce the festival's credo of openness, pianist Bugge Wesseltoft joined with classical violinist {Henning Kraggerud for an acoustic duo project that provided new insights into the musicians' multifaceted creativity. Last Spring (ACT, 2012) is the name of the duo's debut recording and the autumn concert performed in Heidelbeg's Church of the Holy Spirit-a concert that had the diaphanous quality of a winter minuet. Based mainly on original Norwegian folksongs and on the music of classical composer Edvard Grieg, the performance was defined by a quiet lyricism, expressed in natural harmonies with elaborate melodic sequences climaxing in pathetic adagios. Kraggerud's suave sound soared like a solitary bird above Wesseltoft's serene explorations, fluctuating in and out of the classical soundscape in full command of the emotional timing. Wesseltoft's performance unfolded in a well-tempered succession of moods, moving from reflexive contemplation to well-sustained narrative progression. The isolated drops of sound that heightened the lightness of the performance acquired hymnal crescendos, at times reaching tourbillon-like intensity, ultimately abating into calm remises that died away like the remote whispers of a dark Norwegian forest.

Jan Bang and Tigran Hamasyan

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