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Garana Jazz Festival 2014

Adriana Carcu By

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Tom Harrell Colors of a Dream feat. Esperanza Spalding—Although performing on an open air scene, the quintet—Tom Harrell, trumpet, flugelhorn; Jonathan Blake, drums; Wayne Escoffery, tenor sax; Ugonna Okegwo, double bass; and Jaleel Shaw, alto sax, generated that state of well-being experienced when good music is played in a jazz club. With a solid swing backing and a compact brass section, the tunes poured on as from a well oiled jazz machine. The trumpet sound came warm and serene with that quiet assuredness of experience, incorporating the newness and tradition in a meeting of contemporaneity in felicitous communion. The sax line emerged in fluid smoothness like a melodious embrace, leaning finely on the bass/drum section as if on a rhythm canopy. Allegoric drum solos were marking the rhythmical peaks of a compact performance. Esperanza Spalding performed solely a vocal part. The artist brought in a clear voice, with a slightly smoky coloration, and a lull that smoothed the legatos and the passages between the intervals, enhancing the performance with two moments of vocal delectation.

Mike Stern/Bill Evans Band feat. Dennis Chambers & Tom Kennedy—Performing in Garana for the third time, the guitarist Mike Stern, brought along the saxophonist Bill Evans, Tom Kennedy on bass and Dennis Chambers on drums, in a jazz-fusion formula that electrified the audience. With his instrumental versatility and the unabashed improvisational energy, Mike Stern hit the strings in a cross-genre show, bringing together funk rock and jazz with a joyful alertness that was both delightful and entertaining. The bass line, slip-slapping in a manner reminiscent of Level 42's Mark King, fueled the drive in perfect communication with the drum. In Stern's composition "Out of the Blue," the theme on guitar was taken over by Bill Evans on soprano sax, the clear voice of the instrument expanding its melodiousness into an inspiriting groove that closed yet another memorable edition of a jazz festival in the wild Carpathians.

Photo credit: Markus Kaesler

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