Every journey, large or small, has to end. Friday saw the final JazzTube concerts for 2018 at Hauptbahnhof, Uni/Markt and Museumsmeile/Heussallee.
There was, as with all the concerts this year, a marvellously mixed bag of Jazz to be heard. How can anyone really vote for a winner from such a diverse bunch of dedicated musicians? We’ll come to that problem later. First off though let’s take a quick journey around and hear what’s going down…
First stop the Hauptbahnhof. As is often the case, this is a place where you will find the most ‘conventional’ of the three acts playing. Today it’s the turn of The Martin Berner Quintet. Well, actually not so conventional. A quintet with trumpet and trombone is maybe not so common. The result is a nice musical interplay and plenty of room for improvisation and soloing.
After the usual louder volume at the Hauptbahnhof, I’m always struck by the total change of pace that occurs when I reach Universität/Markt. It’s a place that usually makes for a good audience, in front of what is very often a duet doing something a little different (Klaus der Geiger with Marius Peters or Christian Padberg aka Dad’s Phonkey for example).
Today it’s a sweet and serene ladies voice that calls me, siren-like, as I step out of the tube train. The siren voice turns out to be from Nijmegen in the Netherlands, and belongs to Hester Gorter. There’s a little bit of Billie Holiday in Hester’s appearance and in her voice at times too. She’s backed by Kai Starke hence the duo I’m now listening to with eyes gently closed: Starke & Gorter.
Gorter’s voice has the perfect foil in Kai Starke’s gentle guitar melodies. That’s it as far as the musical accompaniment is concerned. Simple, but very effective. So effective in fact that the duo won an award in 2008 for Voice & Guitar. So effective even that I stop to have an in-between set chat and take the chance to buy a CD. The chat revealed that the duo has wanted to play JazzTube for a while (proof of how popular this event has become – even beyond Bonn/Cologne). The CD is a rather enjoyable version of the sets played this evening.
The duo has a laid back, shy even, stage presence. They let the songs (self-penned) do the talking for them – and they are very pursuasive indeed. But don’t just take my word for it. on 4th October they are playing at Jazzbackerei (Kreuzstrasse 16, Bonn) and well worth a listen.
I feel a little sad as I step out of the tram at Museumsmeile/Heussallee this evening. It only seems like yesterday that I was here rushing down the platform to get to Nina’s Rusty Horns before heading off to the Stadtgarten for an open-air concert. Now here I am, taking the short elevator up to hear the very last band at JazzTube 2018.
Thiago Gois has a happy smile on his face when I arrive, as well he might. Gois is from São Paulo and there is undoubtedly a Carnival-like warmth in that smile. It’s also a result of having an excellent set of musicians around him this evening. One face is familiar – Johannes Pfingsten on drums had a much simpler instrument to carry around when I saw him last with Nina’s Rusty Horns and a Washboard. A band that was already good even went up a notch when Ilja Gussarov joined them on flute. Not an instrument you would normally get excited about, but Ilja had a switchboard laid out next to his flute and was merrily tweaking his sound to add an extra dimension to the band. Will he be at the Pantheon if the band win through to the final though? Indeed, WHO will be? You can see the current state of votes yourself (and also vote!) HERE
The winning three bands will appear at the Pantheon in Bonn on 12th October for a Grand JazzTube Finale.