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7

Jazz à Juan 2014

Jean-Pierre Goffin By
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After the fireworks, we discovered the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, a band of enthusiasts who happen to play in New Orleans at the legendary Preservation Hall. Opening with "In the Streets of Antibes," the band delivered an enthusiastically-revisited Louisiana tradition. The next day, Stacey Kent performed intimate jazz, gently whispered but never boring: grace, style, sweet ballads that were mainly Brazilian tonight, with covers of her album Changing Lights (Parlophone, 2013). With Manu Katché, Richard Bona, Eric Legnini and Stefano di Battista, we saw a new lineup of great friends who gathered for a tour and had fun. One could not expect a perfect cohesion—the group was formed for a tour of two weeks. The quartet offered us some of their best compositions. "The Old and Grey," by a groovy Eric Legnini on Fender, opened the concert and Stefano di Battista (alto/soprano-sax) performed some fabulous solos. A vocal demonstration by bassist Richard Bona was one of the highlights of this highly recommended concert.

When Chick Corea founded the jazz-rock-fusion group Return To Forever in the 1970s, a joyful breeze of elation passed through the jazz world, and Return To Forever quickly established itself as the quintessential essence of fusion. This time, it was with Stanley Clarke, the only permanent member of the formation, that the pianist revisited the music of the 1970s as if it was a chamber music orchestra, a duet format that gave a new vision of standards like "Sometime Ago," "La Fiesta" or "Spain." Offstage, Stanley Clarke confessed: "Some time ago, we decided to rethink our history in a new way. We wanted to replay the songs written for an electric group and adapt them to a duet. Finally, it all came down to basic acoustics. "

And then came Stevie Wonder. In the Pine Grove, organizers reduced seating to cram as many people as possible standing along the barriers, in order to increase the capacity from 3,000 to 4,000 places. In the VIP section, many skipped over Gregory Porter's opening concert, and they were wrong! The baritone gave us a great time of music, real music: there was no question of attracting the audience to the front—it would have been frowned upon by the people in the first rows who had paid a lot for seeing Stevie!)—no easy calls , just music, a smart cross between jazz and soul. If you have not heard the album Liquid Spirit (Blue Note, 2013), here is one of the most beautiful male voice in the history of jazz. After a long interruption, Stevie Wonder finally came onto the stage, playing on the clavinet and singing Marvin Gaye's "How Sweet It Is." Vocalizations in crescendo in the high notes (he would even use his magic potion for a few gargles with a very professional sense of humor!), long improvised codas , and a litany against war and terrorism (was there anyone out there who did not think the same?) Nothing could break the enthusiasm of an audience converted by the incredible flood of hits written by this genius! Once more the Gould Pine Grove, where you sit under 100-year-old pines, was again this year a place of memories and discoveries at the same time, and this has been lasting for 54 years!

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