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3rd Zbigniew Seifert International Jazz Violin Competition

Ian Patterson By

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Day Three: Final

The main hall of the Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music was fairly packed for the final -a completely different atmosphere to the more sparsely attended semi-finals. Janusz Jablonski once again introduced the judges and welcomed Agnieska Seifert-Beck, widow of Zbigniew Seifert, who rose to acknowledge the warm applause. Jablonksi also welcomed Daniel Trutt, whose family generously made available to the Seifert Foundation an archival recording of Zbigniew Seifert's short-lived band Variospheres in 1976, which was released as Variospheres: Live in Solothurn (Zbigniew Seifert Foundation, 2018). Finally, Jablonksi introduced the Dominik Wania Trio, who had performed brilliantly over the previous two days. The formalities over, the final got underway before an attentive audience.

Benjamin von Gutzeit

Von Gutzeit chose two jazz classics, Thelonious Monk's "I'm in You" and Joe Henderson's "Inner Urge." In between, the violist tackled Seifert's "Love in The Garden." On a feisty version of Monk's tune, von Gutzeit set down a marker with a swinging, extended solo. Wania followed suit before von Gutzeit and drummer Fortuna locked horns. Especially impressive was von Gutzeit's unaccompanied interpretation of "Love in The Garden" -looped drone and then pizzicato forming the backdrop to his soloing, that whilst technically striking, also spoke to the heart. "Inner Urge" served up von Gutzeit's most exciting soloing, though even at faster tempi the violist's articulation was always immaculate. An elegant solo from Wania led into a unison vamp that released Fortuna on another lively solo, before a brief return to the head.

Layth Sidiq

Layth Sidiq wasted no time in warming up, launching into the lively original tune "The Fog," one of two original compositions. Drawing on the melody of an Arabic tune, Sidiq's seductive playing interwove Middle Eastern and Western tonalities to stirring effect. The finale, with bowed bass, rumbling mallets, high-register piano stirrings and softly singing violin, had an achingly poetic quality. Sidiq raised his own bar still higher on the unaccompanied "Letter to Paco," a moving tribute to Paco De Lucia that embraced the confluence of musical cultures in Andalucía. Tender and visceral in turn, this self-penned composition showcased Sidiq's measured virtuosity. With a small shaker, Sidiq joined in the rhythmic introduction to Seifert's "On the Farm," a thrilling workout that saw Sidiq's most uninhibited improvisation. Stepping aside as a fired-up Wania took over, Sidiq returned for the head, visited briefly before a conclusion of dramatic abruptness.

Gabriel Terracciano

Gabriel Terracciano opened his final account with a violin and drum dialogue that announced Coltrane's harmonically dense "26-2." Wania was the first to solo, over Mucha's fast-walking bass and Fortuna's industry, before Terracciano picked up the thread. Unfortunately, his pick-up was not properly placed, resulting in a slightly distant, tinny sound. This technical glitch, however, didn't detract from Terracciano's playing -adventurous but always melodic. For Carl Fischer/Bill Carey's "You've Changed," Terracciano adjusted his pick-up and restored his true sound. A nicely edgy exchange with Wania blossomed into collective lyricism, with Fortuna's brushes underpinning Terracciano's delightfully laid-back, Stephane Grappelli-esque soloing. This composition bled into Seifert's "Man of the Light," where Terracciano's unaccompanied intro, impressionist, raw and bluesy in turn, drew appreciative applause from the audience. The rhythm section arrived with energy, Terracciano ceding to the ever-impressive Wania before the violinist unleashed his most expansive and thrilling improvisation of the competition -a strong statement to close with.

Mario Forte

Choosing "Chinatown"—one of Seifert's lesser known tunes—to begin the final with, was a bold move from Forte, but perhaps in keeping with a musician who had stood out for his personal approach to the violin and to the jazz/improvised idiom. The up-tempo nature of the composition provided Forte with the opportunity to really extend himself, which he did to spectacular effect. In an uninterrupted performance, Forte built upon a delicate, unaccompanied pizzicato motif, injecting rhythmic gusto with the intervention of the trio. Pedal effects colored a contemporary, Pat Metheny-esque melodic line. Switching back to unplugged terrain, Forte's dancing improvisation was spellbinding, his attack as uplifting as it was exhilarating. Forte's energy transmitted to the other musicians, with Fortuna delivering one of his most spectacular solos of the three days. When the heat had subsided, Forte triggered ambient loops of industrial insistence, eventually drawing from his strings both synthesized and acoustic sonorities that, aided by loops, dovetailed to highly atmospheric effect.

Cécile Delzant

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Variospheres: Live in Solothurn

Variospheres: Live in...

Zbigniew Seifert Foundation
2017

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Live in Solothurn

Live in Solothurn

Zbigniew Seifert Foundation
2017

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Solo Violin

Solo Violin

Zbigniew Seifert Foundation
2017

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Nora

Nora

GAD Records
2010

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Man of the Light

Man of the Light

Promising Music/MPS
2010

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Solo Violin

EMI Classics
2008

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