Live Reviews — June 24, 2013 at 5:20 pm

LIVE REVIEW: Jazzdor Music Festival



The annual Jazzdor Festival perfectly heralded the start of Summer in Berlin. With a handpicked program of mainly French and French-German constellations, playing 12 concerts over 4 nights from the 5th-8th of June, we were once again reminded of the diversity of creative European jazz. Without any strict genre tag, we were taken on an adventurous trip through the ever-expanding borders of improvised music.

Michel Portal (clarinet) and Vincent Peirani (accordion) opened the festival and led us in on a playful and light-hearted set. Following was the electrifying guitarist Marc Ducret who formed a trio with Samuel Blaser (trombone) and Peter Bruun (drums) to throw us into the deep end of group improvisation. Denis Badault H3B quartet with a piano, trumpet, violin and double bass rounded up the first evening with dynamic and beautiful chamber music.

Certainly off to a great start, this versatile program continued on to surprise and nourish the crowd’s curiosity. The day ranged from the improvised duo with Joelle Leandre (double bass) and Vincent Courtois (cello), to a 12-piece European saxophone ensemble, a Balkan inspired quintet led by Gueorgui Kornazov, and to the more street-wise spoken word project with Antoine Berjeut’s Wasteland, feat. the American poet Mike Ladd.

My personal favourite was a set by the British multi-faceted vocalist Maggie Nicols, who appeared in a new trio with Denis Charolles (drums/trombone) and David Chevallier (guitars/banjo). They completely won the hearts of the crowd with their sparkling performance, having twisted form and genre their own way. Their versions of Otis Redding’s, “I’ve Been Loving Lou Too Long” and Stevie Wonder’s, “Superstition” were given a complete overhaul. These old classics were elevated into a new and modern level with Maggie’s personal spoken word style.

Set in an old brewery machine house called ‘Kesselhaus’, this spot-on venue perfectly captured the intimacy and impeccable sound engineering necessary for bringing out the best of the music. It was no wonder it attracted plenty of international music enthusiasts including musicians as well as bookers and label owners.

The perfect timing for a Berlin trip!



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