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Jazz au Chellah Festival 2013

Mehdi El Mouden By

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Next up, livelier and burlesque, Trio Grande & Matthew Bourne presented a contrasted view of Jazz. With liberties on brass instruments, Laurent Dehors released squeaks, breath-taking solos, while on trombone Michel Massot toured the stage aimlessly enflaming the audience. The music sounded at times valse, java, breathless heartbeat, a bit nervous, then relaxed but supported by the piano of Bourne, who often restored the frenzy. Able to play ballads, and quite capable to turn the scene into a total free jazz anarchy, the band was impulsive enough to fuse with Oudist Driss Maloumi's tripping music.

El Maloumi started the show off along with vocalist Karima El Maloumi, percussionist Said el maloumi and percussionist Houssain Bakir. El Maloumi gave a virtuoso demonstration on Oud, elicited fingertip responses from both percussionists, which resulted in a lengthy piece of dialogue highly cheered by the audience. Then Trio Grande and Matthew Bourne were invited to play with El Maloumi Quartet. Adding more texture and colors, Bourne and co. performed structured music attending Maloumi's oriental touch. On the other hand, in a church like manner, Karima performed a song in which El Maloumi had to adopt solos to a European baroque song.

Day Three: September 13

As the name suggests, Nuevo Tango Ensamble plays a novel tango, based essentially on the music of Astor Piazzolla. Originally from Bari, Italy, the band started in 1999 and dedicates its work at inventive interpretations of the Argentinian master. More dramatic in the beginning of the performance, the band gave free reign to spontaneity and improvisation at the end of the concert.

The second band to perform was the Tamara Obrovac quartet. From Croatia, Obrovac indigenous music found attentive ears in the audience. Her charismatic voice and moves captured quickly the audience. It took her a little while to warm up the band. Once the group kicked into gear, the music was already familiar to the audience. Then Obrovac took the reigns and completely changed the music from an Istrian Jazz folk sound into pop music she was deliberately pleased to present. Rachid Zeroual trio joined in the middle of this 'pop star' song. His bewitching flute work along with Moustapha El Aantari's percussion stirred the excitement. Highly responsive, Obrovac's band reacted quickly and most notably drummer Krunoslav Levacic, who found pleasure responding at every beat of Antari's percussion. The contest was stunning and memorable.

Day Four: September 14

Within a world music tradition framework, jazz is often associated with autochthonous traditional music with a certain rhythm similar to Jazz. In this perspective, Saturday night was the occasion to instill a touch of eastern music to the festival.

The first band to perform was Savina Yannatou Salonico quartet. Open to different languages, Yannatou's embarked in a voyage around the east. Singing in an operatic manner, the jazz flowed smoothly along her conciliatory voice. With some scatting, prominent bass, flute, and qanun, she pacified Jewish rhythms with Arabic instruments. She travelled far to Russia, went south to Lebanon, tried French then ventured a love song in Arabic.

Less open to universalism, the duet Klaus Paier and Asja Valsic enchanted the audience with a demonstration on Cello and Accordion. Deep rooted in Tango, the sounds of their instruments often bumped on each other. Shrewd improvisers, they dragged their inspiration to the maximum.

Part of the third set, the duet Paier/Valsic shared the stage with Karim Kadiri Trio. With Moroccan oudist Kadiri, bassist Hamza Souissi and drummer Najib Saleem, the duet could merge his tango to oriental music. The music seemed not to fuse but rather cohabit between the two bands. On the one hand, Kadiri's subterranean oud playing and on the other hand, the serene but often bustling music of the Paier/Valsic duet.

Day Five: September 15

It is usually the tradition in Chellah to keep festive sounds to the closure. Indeed, the organizers scheduled three explosive bands.

The much appreciated flamenco guitarist Daniel Casares and 'Guernica 75' including singer Juan Murube, dancer Sergio Aranda, and pianist Alfonso Aroca. Casares opened the set perfectly well in falsettos. Less interested in experiments, or nuevo flamenco, Casares released purist traditional sounds. The sound of his guitar resounded with force in the open space while claps of Murube added texture to the imaginative piano of Aroca. To add variety, to the Andalusia music, in a proud and upright way, Aranda performed fast footwork on the well-lit scene.

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