Hard to believe but we’ve now reached the halfway point in this year’s JazzTube. Week three saw the usual enjoyable mix of styles that has come to characterize the Tube where three stages offer the musical equivelants of carrots, chalk and cheese. Different colours, styles and flavours with only that ethereal chameleon called Jazz to link them.
First stop Thomas-Mann-Strasse. Being at the back of Bonn Hauptbahnhof it doesn’t get disturbed by too many train/tube passengers. Most of the people are here purely for the Jazz, this time provided by Vibe Out!. ‘Soul meets Latin and Jazz’ says the website and it doesn’t lie. The website also tells me that Vibe Out! came about during a touring production of ‘Dirty Dancing – Live Onstage’ so I’m wondering where the Vibraphone majestically played by Patrick Andersson tonight came in during that particular tour. Here it certainly catches the eye (and the ear) as an additional tonal shading to Norman Peplow’s piano. All in all a pleasant way to start my musical meanderings on a slightly drizzly September evening.
Operation Tandem were waiting for me at Universität/Markt. Well, they weren’t waiting, in fact I only caught the tail-end of their second set. Regular visitors to JazzTube will know that this is the station where the slightly oddball/off the cuff Jazz can be found. Experimental? Well not groundbreaking this evening, but a duo playing guitar (Robert Mensebach) and trombone (Bernd Lechtenfeld) seems to me to be an odd combination. It works though. I suspect that’s because the duo in question have been playing together for over twenty years. Charles Mingus, Pat Metheny and Cedar Walton are typical composers to get the Operation Tandem treatment.
The two Rhinelanders have a pleasantly introverted way of introducing their hybrid music and although the listening audience isn’t as large as last weeks Porteno Global enjoyed there were clearly a large number who arrived at Uni/Markt, found what they were looking for musically, and stayed.
Indeed this is a great part of the magic of Jazztube: We’re kidding ourselves if we say it’s about entertaining commuters of course. I well remember a Facebook video posted of an internationally known violinist playing a frighteningly expensive violin and 99% of commuters passing him and his violin by with no time to appreciate the quality. For the most part commuters do what they are named after – commute. Most would probably pass a Beatles reunion by without a glance, even if John Lennon turned out to play from the grave.
JazzTube is all about bringing people out to hear Jazz specifically. Some of them admittedly do come to Bonn by train/tube to hear the music, but that’s not commuting – it does say something very positive about what Bonn, StadtwerkeBonn, and Thomas Kimmerle have achieved here though.
I finish my evening of Jazz at Museumsmeile listening to the calming semi-improvisations of the Moritz Preisler Trio. Bonn born Moritz has his eyes concentrated on the sheet music resting on his piano, as if he fears the notes may at any moment off and run away to catch a train. Judging by the intricate nature of his playing they would not fit onto one train though. Nonetheless, David Helm on contra-bass and Jan Philipp on drums both seem to feel their way along Preisler’s tightrope melodies with relative ease. It’s all gentle stuff to take us into the weekend and when the finisher, Cole Porter’s ‘I Love You’ gets underway it’s lively but still in a gentle way; leaving me stress-free to meet the weekend. Relaxation. End station.