Inntoene Festival: Diersbach, Austria, June 10-12, 2011


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The crowd was won over, but there was less to enjoy in pianist Aki Takase's duo with Xiu Fengxia. Both women musicians, from the Far East, are based in the Germanic world, but until this gig had not played together.

The Eric Sava Quartet from France—consisting of baritone saxophone, piano, accordion and drums—had no such problem convincing everyone in the room and received a rapturous reception for their blend of fast-moving and energetic folk-jazz.

Bleu is a trio led by trumpeter Lorenz Raab, who doubles occasionally—with one hand—on harmonium, with Ali Angerer's tuba/zither/cimbalom/electronics and drummer Rainer Deixler. An extrovert trumpeter (is that a tautology?), Raab plays in the Volksoper, and mainly explored quieter sound-worlds and Austrian-inflected, Nordic-inspired electronica.

One of the moments which Paul Zauner had been evidently looking forward was to reunite a group of American musicians. Two are now based in Europe—composer/drummer/educator Doug Hammond, originally from Tampa Florida, and now based in Linz; and Detroit pianist Kirk Lightsey, based in Paris—with young bassist Aaron A James. They played standards, the trio providing lively and first rate support, leaving saxophonist Larry Smith free to roam. Lightsey produced a moment of pure magic with his brief solo feature on "Never Let Me Go," which he segued into Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way," for trio.

Larry Smith was close to tears, as he thanked Paul Zauner for having made something extremely special at Diersbach, enthusing, "This is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in 57 years of making music." That moment of introspection, however, was not yet the last word. The audience's chairs were cleared, suddenly the vibe got a lot younger, the barn became a club, and the lively French band Les Lapins Superstar just let rip.

Photo Credit
Page 1: Reinhard Winkler
Pages 2, 3: Michael Fruehmann


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