The July JazzTube offerings were very much ‘Ladies Night’ affairs. Julia Kriegsmann’s sax with Ton at Hauptbahnhof, Ukranian Tamara Lukasheva with excellent scat-jazz vocals at Uni/Markt, and Maria Preus with Antiquariat giving Gypsy Swing a young and talented face at Museumsmeile. Good reason then to take two ears and one camera on the Subway once again.
My timing for the evening is bad in that I arrive at Hauptbahnhof just in time to catch the last track of the Modern Jazz Band Ton’s first set. Plenty of others have managed their timing better though and there is already quite a sizeable crowd listening to Julia Kriegsmann’s Saxophone. They sounded like a promising improvised Jazz combo and I knot my metaphorical handkerchief as a reminder to come back this way for more in the course of the evening.
I might have trouble getting back though, because at Uni/Markt there is also a sizeable crowd enjoying the vocal talents of Tamara Lukasheva ably assisted by Contra bassist Hendrika Entzian and a smiling Riaz Khabirpour on guitar. There’s an ease with which she sings, but an intensity in her face at times too. Stylish stuff! And I catch pretty much the whole of an excellent set before bounding off again with a Bluesman’s mindset of taking the next train bound in either direction – back to Ton or onwards to Antiquariat. Ton win out by a train that’s a minute earlier, so I’m back to hear some more Modern Jazz and saxophone from the Maastricht born band that now has (almost) a local musician onboard in the shape of Cologne based Rafael Krohn.
Two good bands already then, and now the real test of Bonn’s Subway. It seems as if I always end up waiting 10 minutes for the train on to Museumsmeile. By the time I arrive I am, as always, fearing I’ve missed the last band. Fortunately though Antiquariat are playing until 7.30pm so I still have the chance to hear them play, and as at Hauptbahnhof, I am very far from alone. This has to be the biggest crowd I’ve seen at a JazzTube concert this year (and possibly any year come to that). I can’t help thinking that bands who have bagged a sunny Summer evening have an edge vote wise when it comes to JazzTube. Last month I had no trouble getting close to the band with a 24-70 lens, this time It’s all down to the 50-150mm and I’m grateful for the chain of colored lighting on the floor that gives at least an extra watt or two of light to the semi-darkness that is Heussallee/Museumsmeile Subway Station.
Behind me is a screen showing an endless tapeloop of John Kennedy stepping out of a plane at an early 60’s Cologne Airport on a Museum television screen. In front of me Marion Preus is singing songs that are actually new but sound as if they are decades older than that clip of America’s famous President. Preus is Franco-American but her music is largely Gypsy Swing with German Text. It takes me back to last weekend with Astatine’s Cole Porter covers and also, at times, to last year’s appearance in Bonn by Zaz. There’s an impish energy about Marion Preus that is also very much a part of the charm and strength of Isabelle Geffroy aka Zaz.
There’s a high quality about not just the singer but the Antiquariat band too. Guitarist Alexander Sobocinski, or ‘Sobo’ as he is better known, is also the musical writer and arranger of the band. He is also a fine guitarist and lends a hand with the percussion when demanded simply by turning his guitar over and slapping it to the beat. The sound is almost as sumptuous as the heavy blankets put on the wall as a backdrop. They do a super version of Bertold Brechts ‘Ballade vom Förster und der Gräfin’ during which you could hear a pin drop and an equally super version of their own song ‘In Dieser Stadt’ which is the title track of their latest CD, which come the break sells very well indeed.
So it’s been a chaotic rush from station to station, I’ve seen three excellent bands and once again come away with the feeling that whoever wins this years VOTE as best Band, it will have been a matter of comparing chalk and cheese – both of the highest quality. In the end anyway, the biggest winners are us – the public that gets to hear great music for free after a hard days’ work.