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Ljubljana Jazz Festival: Ljubljana, Slovenia, June 20–29, 2012

Henning Bolte By

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The group performed "Dream Baby Dream" early in the show, but in no time it turned into a deafening wall of noise completely drowning out the singer, who had to play the song's central role. It could be considered as a seriously imbalanced mismatch or a conscious expressive overkill. Don Cherry's "Golden Heart" has a shining North African signature—one of the trumpeter's typically wonderful and memorably simple tunes. Sadly, not much of this experienced in The Thing's performance; this would have been no problem had new qualities emerged to create their own memorable impact. Instead, the group relied heavily on an over-the-top power play as a new and overwhelming approach that seemed to appeal to a small portion of the audience, which went wild. This new constellation did not, however, play its way into and out of the songs they were covering; this may change and develop over time, hopefully, when the group really gets inside the music.



The finale was for guitarist John Scofield and his Hollowbody Band, featuring guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, bassist Ben Street and drummer Bill Stewart. This was as classic as classic can be. Scofield played a wide variety of songs, crossing through the rich body of his own work but also entering into extended elaborations of evergreens like "Moonlight In Vermont." Highly concentrated, with great flow, effortless mutual understanding and unlimited collaboration Scofield and his fellow musicians traveled through the warm summer night.

Ljubljana is a smaller scale festival of high musical quality with a relaxed ambience. It is a truly music-minded festival, with daring and balanced programming that has developed a forward-looking line. Its curation was a remarkable example not only of interregional European cooperation but, above all, the care of musical quality—its visibility, maintenance and development. Ljubljana leaves precious memories—and some nice things you can buy there for a decent price. Not only delicious salty chocolate but also good clothing and design.

In memoriam: Bernardo Sassetti (1970-2012)

Photo Credit

All Photos: Henning Bolte

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