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Live Reviews

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

By Published: November 3, 2012
A rainy autumn evening. A dark coffee bar in Mannheim called Café Prag. On the raw walls huge photographs featured opulently dressed models. A girl in corduroy jeans sat, cross-legged, on a makeshift stage and played with a sound box. The sounds coming out of the box were samples and loops of her own voice, and built, layer-upon-layer, into a soundscape that gradually revealed candid incantations, tender ballads of the fjords, and ancestral cries of scared birds, spiced with distant oriental vibes. Brunvoll''s processed voice emerged from the primal magma, boiling with electric intermittences, mixing tender melodies with high atonal calls, her playful kalimba sound alternating with tongue and lips-driven percussion. Gradually the lyricism became drama, and the long wailing tones turned into rhythmical bursts, the short breath of a scared child metamorphosing into acute confrontations with itself and the world. Brunvoll's performance was slightly bemusing, but would have benefited from a greater vocal presence.

Jan Garbarek featuring Trilok Gurtu

The air of joyful anticipation dominating the lobby-a clear sign of growing popularity-seemed to contaminate saxophonist Jan Garbarek's quartet featuring Trilok Gurtu-who, together with pianist Rainer Bruninghaus and bassist Yuri Daniel-gave a most gratifying performance. Just like things happen when two old friends meet and share old experiences, the music played was an inspired medley, bringing together the aloof nostalgic tones of the North with the natural voices of tabla and the harpsichord tonalities of the piano. Hymns of praise alternated with rhythmical tempests, melodious scores followed sophisticated classic innuendos when "It's High Time" followed "When the Rivers Meet." The sonic landscape had, in its center, a high cliff surrounded by turbulent rhythmical flows. The sound of Garbarek's saxophone rose in pensive tones like the morning sun, atomized into scintillating harmonies, progressing into vertical notes and contrasting shades, and then took a few rounds in the sunny afternoon and glided smoothly into the dusk.

Daniel escalated a theme in single steps that merged into melodic sequences with cello-like melodiousness, only to dissolve again into solitary peaks of sound. Bruninghaus deconstructed themes into minute atonalities, only to reintegrate them into the tabla's modulating harmony. The rhythmic conglomerate became a self-propelled sonic substance that moved gradually into a more abstract territory, where sound fell naturally upon sound, and music became a state of being with no direct relation to its source material.

Photo Credit

Richard Wayne

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