You have to love outdoor concerts in Bonn. Rather like English busses, there’s nothing and then they all arrive at once. In the case of Bonn, ‘at once’ means Friday and Saturday nights right now. Today it was the turn of Stadtgarten and Rheinaue to divide my attentions as prizewinning music at Alten Zoll vied with cover music from finest. Aileen Phoenix, JinJim and Sunny Skies. I wish such high carat choices had to be made more often!
Having missed a sizzling PopCamp special on Friday with Kent Coda and Kosho I was determined to make it down to Alten Zoll for Berlin based Aileen Phoenix and top Bonn ProgJazz Quartett JinJim, both award winners with great futures.
In 2012 Aileen won the Elsa-Neumann-Stipendium in Berlin as part of the duo ‘Wildchild’. Nowadays the lady is a solo Jazz singer of the finest quality, with that extra oomph! that somehow makes the music accesible to non-jazzers. Call it enthusiasm, stage presence, maybe describe it as a feeling that the songs express the thoughts of the listener as much as the singer. Aileen Phoenix seems to easily home in on the wavelength of her audience and make her songs their songs too.
Mother Nature threw a short ‘curve-ball’ at her though as, direct on the start at 7pm, it began to shower with rain on a day that had been swelteringly hot and from a sky that didn’t appear to have any clouds from which rain could actually fall. Clearly God was also on Aileen’s wavelength too because the drops stopped and people emerged like crustaceans from under their beachtowel/blanket ‘rocks’ to enjoy the sweet sound of Aileen and her young but fine Band. A mix of songs in both German and English followed that made it clear this young lady is hopefully going to give us much music to enjoy in the future and good though she now is I’m sure she will just keep getting better and better.
For Bonn Jazz lovers JinJim will be a familiar name I’m sure. I remember seeing them at Jazztube and being sruck by their sound. At a time when so many bands all sound like someone else, JinJim sound just like themselves. ‘Artrock’ is how ‘Jazzthetik’ describes their sound and maybe I would descibe it as ‘Art Jazz’ – but then I never really thought a flute infused band was Rock (having said which I can only think of Jethro Tull in this context anyway). Whatever the label, it’s the music that counts of course and in JinJim’s case it counts for a whole lot.
I guess International Folk with Jazz overtones would be a good way to decribe what I was hearing. That sort of Jazz where you can almost feel the tension in an atmosphere where everyone present is hanging on each musical note and there is a spell in the air that no-one would dream of breaking. I imagine a lot of arms were put round other arms amongst the myriad listeners seated on blankets along the grass verge next to the stage especially when Daniel Manrique Smith steps up for a flute solo. Both flute and face looked familiar and indeed Daniel was busy that very morning on the Jazz Tube as an integral sound ingredient of Angea Ultima.
Music to dream by and quite often to take that other person in your arms and dance by too. Add a large dose of progressive Rock sound though and the Band certainly has a cutting edge all it’s own to satisfy not just Folk and Jazz fans but the odd Metal-head too. Stadtgarten Magic once again, as the sun went down and the atmosphere went up, on a balmy Summer night the kind of which we will all look back on longingly next February in the snow.