To celebrate its 100th concert Dottendorfer Jazznacht took a trip to France on Friday evening with the aid of the Christine Corvisier 5tet led by Pepignon-born Christine Corvisier. The evening drew heavily from her 2022 release ‘Chansons de Cologne’ but don’t let the german city in that title confuse you – french melodies were very much in the air. Corvisier spent her childhood surrounded by the chansons of Aznavour and Piaf so their sound is “in my blood” as she recalls in an interview with the Jazzschmiede in Düsseldorf. Judging by the smiles, both on and off-stage, her jazz interpretations of those classics were clearly enjoyed as much by the musicians as by the audience at the Dottendorf Ortszentrum.
As MC Herbert Kaupert noted before the band came onstage, the 100th Jazznacht concert is actually a couple of years overdue. Was there an audienceless show from the location featuring Marcus Schinkel during Covid? Maybe I’m imagining it. All the same, it’s good to be back. To celebrate we have an introduction from Melanie Grabowski who is standing in for Mayoress Katja Dörner and so popular is the music this evening that a couple of extra chairs have to be found when she arrives. There are 140 seats in the hall so that things don’t get too crowded (capacity is around 200) and every available seat is sat upon come showtime at 8 pm.
The new sound system is not yet complete I’m told, but everything sounds fine to my ears. The beaming smile on Christine Corvisier’s face tells us she has missed playing to the people and there is a crisp freshness to the playing by her excellent band that has every one of those 140+ spectators spellbound throughout the two sets played.
Not being an expert on French Chanson music I have to judge what is played in the here and now so to speak. I do recognize Charles Aznavour’s ‘She’ (Tout les visages de l’amour) and ‘C’est si bon’ has a familiar air to my ears. Throughout the evening in fact familiar melodies melt into jazz improvisations and back again – the familiar parts seeming to ground the flyaway moments perfectly. It is certainly no accident that the delightful video made to accompany the disc’s release constantly features movement and journeys – by bird, by moped, by (flying) horse… The music too has beginnings grounded in Chanson before taking flight.
This was certainly an excellent evening of jazz to kick off the 2023 Season in Dottendorf. Hopefully the popularity of the concerts will not outgrow the facilities of the Ortszentrum. The lighting and sound are excellent – I hope the intimate atmosphere created by the concert hall will be able to present jazz at its finest for many years to come.