It seems like only yesterday that I descended the steps of Museumsmeile Tube Station en-route to a jazz date with Rod Mason and came face to face with a small group of people huddled round a charming young lady with an even more charming voice. The voice I discovered belonged to Maya Fayeeda, and on Sunday evening I heard it again amongst the winners of this years Jazz Tube at Bonn Harmonie.
It being a Sunday I was surprised to hear from ‘Tube’ organizer Thomas Kimmerle that the show was scheduled to end somewhat later than usually allowed – at 10pm. Maybe it helped that Lord Mayor Jurgen Nympsch was in the audience. Certainly all three acts on the bill deserved a good slot for their music, and as it turned out, there was a fair amount of speech making to fit in too – almost making for a fourth act on the bill.
On the musical side of things it’s surprising how different music sounds from a station to a stage. I had my doubts as to whether all the relatively young acts on show would be comfortable on a stage in front of a well filled hall with candle lit tables. As it was they all proved a high level of confidence and professionalism and the quality of the music and the musicians was always faultless and polished. From the first band of the evening with it’s Tango driven melodies Madera Portena. Three young men with a mature sound that has the uncanny ability to be both traditional and contemporary at the same time. The sort of quiet melodies that people begin talking over when played badly but that people close their eyes and listen too dreamily when played well. This evening there was a house full of such dreamers. A wonderful start.
Time to prepare the stage for the next act up, and time too for a few words from The Lord Mayor. I have to give Jürgen Nimptsch credit, I’ve seen him on numerous stages this year advocating the importance of Culture and music to the City of Bonn. from the opening of Kunst!Rasen, through ‘Bühne Frei für Beethoven’ to this evening and numerous other occasions in between. If sheer presence is anything to go by then music lovers of all types in Bonn seem to have an ally in the Lord Mayor. Nimptsch is patron of the Bonn Jazz Festival and writes on their homepageabout the Music thus:
“Against the trend, Bonn’s Jazz Festival has continued to grow in it’s third year, closing a cultural gap in Bonn at the perfect time and with it’s professional approach and love for detail has managed to win the interest of the people of Bonn” FULL GERMAN TEXT HERE We can only hope that Music in Bonn can win also win the interest of the Council of Bonn too and get the financial backing to match the verbal support, but that’s off topic – we’re here to enjoy new jazz talent.
Jens Böckamp looks younger than his 26 years but plays saxophone with the confidence of someone infinitely older. How else do you explain someone who says simply that he liked a melody by Chopin but, since he couldn’t play piano, worked out a Jazz arrangement of it on sax? Not that we missed out on the more traditional jazz faire, as Böckamp played a smooth Thelonius Monk piece too. All in all an excellent young band with guitarist Riaz Khaburpour worthy of special credit for some melodius runs on guitar.
Time for another stage change for the final band of the evening and also for a few encouraging words from Jazzfest Director Peter Materna and JazzTube Organizer Thomas Kimmerle. After the loss of ‘Jazz Galerie’ as a Jazz Club and the closure of Kimmerle’s ‘Jazz Kellar’ in Kessenich over the last few years things have looked bleak for live performance. Good news came with the announcement that ‘Schlachthof’ near ‘Knaubers’ Baumarkt in Bonn Endenich is being earmarked as a new live venue. Which will please a good many people who miss a regular venue for upcoming talent, of which the JazzTube itself showed us, there was an abundance. A fair bit of talking between the music then, but positive talk from people who care about their craft is always welcome.
It was only shortly after 9pm but Maya Fadeeva had us all believing it truly was ‘Round Midnight’ with her warm, soft voice. I remember shaking hands with her bass player after the gig at Museumsmeile Tubestation saying I was sure we would see each other again in October. As it turned out I was wrong AND right; Roy Louis was back in America but Maya was very definitely back in Bonn as I’d predicted. It’s not just about the music – there is so much great music out there. Maya has a great voice but she also has that hard to define or imitate presence called charisma. When you see her in the room you know she’s the one who will be centre-stage without even knowing the person or the music. Musically she’s poles apart of course from Ana Popovic, but the bubbly hair, fine facial features and sheer presence reminded me of my first meeting with Ana P. Another shared attribute is that both are top class at what they do.
I loved especially Maya’s version of ‘Making Whoopee’ almost as much as I love Michelle Pfeiffers performance of it in ‘Fabulous Baker Boys’ and her own composition – first time live- ‘As long as I hear your Song’ shows she has promise writing her own material too. She also has a fine guitarist in Tim Haenelt and the two seem to almost have a telepathic understanding. Most of all I loved her humorous take of Mose Allisons “I don’t worry bout a thing, cos I know nothings gonna be alright” a great philosophy if ever there was one.
On the evidence of the evenings music and announcements, Bonn too has nothing to worry about where the future of Jazz is concerned: EVERTHING’S gonna be alright. Time will tell of course, but one thing is certain, commuters will be able to join the Jazztube again next year.