There’s a rumbling down in the Tube Station at Bonn Main Station – but not a train in sight. It’s actually coming from the entrance to Thomas-Mann-Strasse and emanates from the assorted trumpet, saxophone and drums of Monkey Moyo. The band, led by Max Schulze-Henning on Sax is opening Jazztube 2013 in Bonn – and kicking up a storm.
After last year’s success I was assured that Jazztube would be back again this year to brighten up the underground scene for commuters on their ways home for the weekend. Bonn being, well, Bonn, of course you can never be sure that success equals permanence – even when it’s free.
Arriving at Bonn Main Station, the funky sound of Dirk Schaadt’s organ was indeed a welcome experience, and If I found myself thinking trumpeter Oscar Kliewe needed a haircut then I put it purely down to our age difference. Monkey Moyo have style and a full sound, whether it be swinging or cooling things down. Waiting on the platform for the next train up to Universität/Markt I could still hear the a boogaloo melody hopping down the escalator to my ears and imploring me to hang around a bit longer, but there was more to explore. How would the next band compare?
Hot Club De Cologne didn’t compare in fact – how can you indeed compare trumpet and saxophone to violin and contrabass? Indeed, why should you even try? Just sit back and enjoy gypsy melodies in the style of Django Rheinhardt, and close your eyes. Is that the smell of wood from an evening campfire in my nostrils? The sound of Gypsy children playing in the fading light of a caravan? Open my eyes and it’s just someone’s cigarette smoke wafting from the street and the children are actually pulling their parents arms to head for the ice cream parlor across the road. Better listened to with eyes closed then, and truly appreciate the silky guitar skills of Peter Kowal and particularly the beauty of Radek Stawarz’s violin melodies. Stawarz is wise to my strategy, he plays his solos with eyes shut tight – seeing the same caravans and dancing children that I see perhaps?
Down in the semi-darkness of Museumsmeile/Heussallee there is also a gentle rumbling. It’s coming from the splendidly colored drumkit of Ralf Gessler, who is laying down a gentle rhythm for Christine Corvisier. This is traditionally the Ladies station for Jazztube. It’s dim lighting may be a nightmare for the autofocus of my Nikon, but it emits a romanticism that regularly seems to draw the biggest crowds and the most atmospheric performances. Gone are the lively swirls of organ heard at Hauptbahnhof and the humming dance melodies from Universität/Markt. Here Cool is King. Maybe that should read ‘Queen’ this evening though. Organizer Thomas Kimmerle is a well known local Sax man and he had recommended Christine Corvisier as worth the time of my ears. Thomas was of course right on the money. The girl has a quiet charm about her both when she plays and when she talks. Even her smile charms.
Christine’s website tells me the Band can groove when they want to as well, but tonight they stick wisely to smoother sounds that perfectly match the warm glows of the neon signs around the station – which remind me that the light is fading now on day one of this year’s Jazztube and it’s time to head for home energized by great music. What better way to wind down after a week of work? How about a Jazztube EVERY Friday evening? Okay by me certainly.
As to who will get my vote? “Chalk and cheese. Gammon and Spinach” as Jack Warner intones when comparing Ebeneezer Scrooge and his partner Jacob Marley in a scene from the original filming of Charles Dicken’s ‘Christmas Carol’. I think this year I will refrain from voting and just enjoy. If Friday was anything to go by, there will be plenty of that to do over the coming Summer Months.
For more details of Jazztube 2013 click on the new ‘Jazztube’ link in the right margin of this site.