Marion & Sobo Band – Esprit Manouche

“Music is known to make you feel a little bit better” sings Marion Lenfant-Preus on ‘Till a quarter to three’. That is certainly true of the Marion & Sobo Band with their new release ‘Esprit Manouche,  recorded right here in Bonn. This is very definitely a Band affair, featuring timeless songs impeccably sung, played by talented musicians and painstakingly produced. Don’t worry about dipping your toes in the perhaps uncharted musical waters of Gypsy Jazz – you will certainly be glad you got your feet wet after hearing Esprit Manouche (Gypsy Spirit)!

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Layla Zoe – Gemini

As you can see above, the new CD by Layla Zoe has a stunning cover (shot by Jacques Clérin). Having heard whats on the two silver discs inside, I can safely say that the contents are equally stunning. If there’s any justice, then ‘Gemini’ (released on October 5), should put Layla up there with the very best Blues/Rock vocalists of this, or any other Age, for that matter.  Gemini, the sign of the twins, is fittingly a double pack.  One disc acoustic, and one very much electric (we’re into Led Zeppelin territory here at times). Whilst it is very much Layla’s album,  Bonn guitarist Jan Laacks shines too on here, and this disc was also produced right here in Bonn.

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Torsten Goods – Jazznacht in Dottendorf

Comparisons to George Benson and Wes Montgomery are an indication of how highly rated Düsseldorf born jazz guitarist Torsten Goods is in the modern jazz pantheon. Friday nights show seemed too low key an affair to give a definitive answer as to whether the comparisons are  justified, but it left no doubt that Ortszentrum Dottendorf and its ‘Dottendorfer Jazznacht’ really is establishing itself.  The plain looking fascade hides a local venue to enjoy World Class Jazz in a ‘living room’ atmosphere.

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Marion and Sobo Band CD Release Party

Friday (24 August) saw some familiar faces at the Stadtgarten with local bands  Meoneo and BonnIndo followed by the CD release party of the Marion & Sobo Band with their brand new disc.

The evening also saw my camera’s memory card break-down.  Thankfully I already knew the music of Meoneo, and Sabine Büttner was on hand with a camera to capture them.  By the time I hustled up a replacement card BonnIndo were in full swing and the perfect end to a Summer evening was just a Gypsy Swing melody away…

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Hop Stopping in the Summergarden

It only seems like yesterday that the Mariachi sounds of Neva Brass brought the curtain up, but today’s concert by Hop Stop Banda brought this years GA-Sommergarten season on the Bundeskunsthalle roof to a fittingly lively end.

Slightly cloudy skies parted to give us a mostly bright and sunny day and the success of this years concerts could be seen in the queues waiting to go ‘up on the roof’ by early afternoon.  It’s been an odd sort of Season this year with people on swings behind the stage and odd, rusty poles laid on the ground artistically signifying a broken flagpole.  A pin-table football game with female players (most now sadly with legs broken off at the end of a hard season)

There’s still plenty happening on the roof this year then – just not of the musical variety unless you count the karaoke singing in a giant walk-in container.

One of those venues that define the special atmosphere of Bonn.  See you in 2018 for more musical fun in the rooftop sun!