Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

4

The World's First International Online Contest by 7 Virtual Jazz Club

The World's First International Online Contest by 7 Virtual Jazz Club
Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
On December 19th 2016, the first international online jazz contest ended with the announcement of the three winners. Organized by Valerio Pappi the artistic director of "7 Virtual Jazz Club" the inaugural edition of this innovative competition was dedicated to cornetist Nick LaRocca. Born of Sicilian parents in New Orleans, La Rocca, despite the controversies surrounding him, is of immense historical importance as leading the first ever jazz recording. The disc, of course, is the 78 RPM Dixieland Jass Band One-Step (Victor, 1917) and La Rocca's group, the Original Dixieland Jass Band.

From April 15th till October 25th of 2016, more than 300 musicians, from around the world, submitted short performance videos online. Out these entries the twenty-one-member panel of judges chose 70 that were hosted on the Club's web-based platform divided up among seven "rooms," each one named after a legendary jazz artist. Both the judges and the public then got a chance to vote on each of the clips and the three top rated ones in each room moved on to the semifinals. After another round of balloting all but eight contestants were eliminated. The judges then ranked each one of the finalists and the compilation of those lists resulted in the three winners, each receiving a cash award commensurate to their standing.

Who are these artists that made it to the top? In first place is German born and Swiss based saxophonist Nicole Johänntgen. Her entry "Flugmodus" is an energetic and lyrical performance with her working group. It demonstrates a rare balance of lilting melodicism and fiery spontaneity. Johänntgen's wailing soprano saxophone solo is peppered with hints of melancholy and is full of emotive ardor. Oud player Nehad El Sayed adds a touch of oriental mysticism while pianist Marc Mean contributes haunting refrains that are simultaneously angular and fluid. The seamless interaction among the various band members is delightfully thrilling and the harmonious mix of diverse genres reflects the universality of improvised music.

A child prodigy, Johänntgen took piano and saxophone lessons in her preteen years and started performing in the jazz idiom at the young age of 13. She studied composition and saxophone at Mannheim under the tutelage of such accomplished musicians as Dave Liebman and Phil Woods.

Johänntgen has released six CDs as a leader, taught master classes in Hessen Germany and Washington University in St Louis USA and travelled the world as a musical ambassador. In addition, she founded the project SOFIA (Support Of Female Improvising Artists) to help musicians directly market their work.

In second place comes the sophisticated quintet The Jazz Fingers. Based on the Spanish island of Majorca the tenor saxophonist Miquel Àngel Rigo leads this group of like-minded musicians that also includes trombonist Tomeu Garcias, pianist Jaume Riera, bassist Joan Garcias and drummer Teo Salvà. The band's influences range from the cool sounds of trumpeters Miles Davis and Chet Baker, the intensity of saxophonist John Coltrane and the elegance of bandleader and pianist Duke Ellington.

Their entry, "Bill Tone" reflects all the above elements in a cohesive and suave hard bop piece with a breezy, Latin tinge. The main melody is intricately constructed yet allows plenty room for individual expression. The improvisations flow naturally out of the stimulating ensemble performance and are refreshingly inventive.  

The third winner is pianist Miguel Andres Tejada whose contribution, the vibrant and exciting "Rumbeando" also won his native Dominican Republic's Ministry of Culture music award. On it Tejada expresses his western classical influences with a dynamic Latin passion. His trio navigates the exciting intricacies of the Afro Cuban leaning composition with grace and spirit. A virtuoso on the keys, Tejada studied with Cuban music masters in his home country as well as at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. He also works with Dominican youth discovering hidden talent and allowing gifted musicians to pursue further education in Europe.

The remaining finalists include the Korean-American pianist Yoonmi Choi and her trio, the Slovenian alto saxophonist Jaka Kopach and his New York Quartet, the Dutch genre bending collective Mn'Jam Experiment, The US based D.O.G Trio and the Thai guitarist Pamai Chirdkiatisak.

Choi is a classically trained musician who received her education both in South Korea and the Netherlands. She has performed at multiple venues in Europe, Asia and the USA. Currently based in New York, Choi's trio also includes bassist Tyler Luppi and drummer Samvel Sarkisyan.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The World's First International Online Contest by 7 Virtual Jazz Club General Articles The World's First International Online Contest by 7...
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 3, 2017
Read The Word is Beat: Jazz, Poetry & the Beat Generation General Articles The Word is Beat: Jazz, Poetry & the Beat Generation
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: August 12, 2015
Read Unseen Recordings: Copenhagen Jazzhouse Launches New Web Channel for Experimental Music General Articles Unseen Recordings: Copenhagen Jazzhouse Launches New Web...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: February 28, 2014
Read The Harlem Renaissance and American Music General Articles The Harlem Renaissance and American Music
by Mike Oppenheim
Published: March 3, 2013
Read Goodbye, Cecil's General Articles Goodbye, Cecil's
by David A. Orthmann
Published: March 14, 2012
Read Hear Me Talkin' to Ya: Jazz Aphorisms General Articles Hear Me Talkin' to Ya: Jazz Aphorisms
by Chris May
Published: December 23, 2011
Read "The World's First International Online Contest by 7 Virtual Jazz Club" General Articles The World's First International Online Contest by 7...
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Keith Oxman Quartet at Nocturne" Live Reviews Keith Oxman Quartet at Nocturne
by Douglas Groothuis
Published: March 19, 2017
Read "Orion Tango at Kung Fu Necktie" Live From Philadelphia Orion Tango at Kung Fu Necktie
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 9, 2017
Read "Smokin' at The Nash" In Pictures Smokin' at The Nash
by Dave Kaufman
Published: September 10, 2017
Read "Celebrating the 2016 Super Fans" Out and About: The Super Fans Celebrating the 2016 Super Fans
by Tessa Souter and Andrea Wolper
Published: December 20, 2016
Read "Green Mountain Jazz" Multiple Reviews Green Mountain Jazz
by Doug Collette
Published: July 24, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!