Eick's ensemble came out strong and two drummers deep, behind a pair of his most recognized efforts, the title track to Skala
(ECM, 2011) and "Williamsburg," from his 2008 ECM debut, Th Door
. The group's shared history made for a very tight unit. Certain crescendo extensions were probably included mainly as an excuse for the band to show off a little, but that was a good thing. Everyone earned a little extra time in the overcast sun. If you've got it, flaunt it.
Eick demonstrated keyboard skills that employed effects as a searchlight not a distraction during excellent ballads. His show was strong from beginning to end, and further enhanced Norway's already dynamic jazz reputation with receptive German fans. Andreas Ulvo
worked multiple decks for the heavy lifting keyboards, and excelled as an anchor for switching rhythms that allowed the twin percussionists to assume some leads. Drummers Kenneth Kapstad and Andreas Bye worked as a duo, not a duel, and created great cadence during ascending suites. The quintet maintained a passionate, hot-potato exchange of solos that smoldered and steamed through a mainstream menu sprinkled with multiple effects. "A" level stuff all around.
Bassist Audun Erlien romped passionately across a wide range of tones up and down the wide neck of his instrument. For whatever reason, be it a mixing board whim or centuries-old sound wave sirens, Erlien's electric bass stood out under the clear blue panorama.
The entire program was well-received, and uneven recent weather turned to beautiful cobalt skies that highlighted a surrounding palette of forest greens. There was a much less commercial feel than exists at many such events, to the sponsors' credit. It was easy to imagine the crumbling walls of time, and a connection to whatever musical threads run through generations of man.
Many subscribers in Jazzklub Krefeld, the event coordinators, were in attendance on an afternoon for everyone to shine. Kudos to Chairman Martina Heffels and ace booker Andreas Lessenich. With April's show featuring the extraordinary ongoing collaboration between the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra
and Joshua Redman
, Jazzklub Krefeld promoted two of the year's finest jazz events.
In a sad irony, similar funding concerns loomed back when Jazzklub Krefeld was founded in 1979. Luckily, another constant is the patronage that helps the arts survive. Many members also volunteer, which accounts for the family atmosphere. 76 year-old founding member Gunter "Fongi" Holthoff remains active among over 300 members that keep around 50 concerts a year going, and include jazz education, jam sessions and community outreach. Many members also volunteer, which accounts for the events' family atmosphere. It's always great to see a bunch of children dancing to jazz, and if there's such a thing as a jazz town, Krefeld is one such community.
Near the end of the night, Iyer surveyed the crowd between songs and made what sounded like a plea for sponsors in current times of artistic funding cuts.
"This is my third visit and I'm very happy to be back," said Iyer. "You should be proud of this. When you have something this special you need to cherish it and make sure it continues. Bring your kids and teach them about this stuff."
Iyer's 1998 Berkeley dissertation noted embodied cognition, and indicated perception of music is based "crucially on the physical constraints and enablings of our sensori-motor apparatus and also on the ecological and socio-cultural environment."
In other words, here's a formula for Jazz on a Summer's Day: Great music + great location = great time.
The lines between past, present and future can be intangible blurs or clear as the aesthetics between one nourishing notation and the next. Sometimes, like today in Krefeld, just about everyone seemed to get it right.
It's said that everyone's home is their castle. Everybody felt at home around the castle, in the kindly kingdom of jazz. Photo Credit