My eyes kept going back to his feet: the right tapped once, then the left tapped twice. Right: two taps. Left: three, and on and on, in a pattern that was anti-pattern. The ruddy hue of his face suggested distress, but obviously he was in his medium: the tall, long-legged slim man in slim grey trousers and short-sleeved narrow cut shirt. His grey hair was cropped close, and he looked like an average German businessman of the cool (not meaning hip) and clipped variety….before he’d stepped on the stage and started playing. And his feet tapped away as he slightly swayed to the music, blasting out an alto sax solo that drew building applause.
I’d been invited to the intimate venue in the “keller” (cellar in English) by Zam Johnson, whom I’d met by chance when he’d come into the restaurant a couple of weeks ago. And on Friday evening, 5 October, I’d found the JazzKeller at Oranienburgerstr. 67, and made my way down the steps to Aufsturzand was pleased to find myself on the guest list and able to get in early to have a chat with the guys before the show started.
MUTARENSIS was the idea by Paul Schwingenschlögl, who composed and arranged the blending of a jazz horn section and Indian, African and various Asian influences into a magnificient show that was high energy, and at times quirky and funny and at others, powerfully moving. As translated from the definition on their web announcement: musical stereotypes and strictures were put aside as they mixed electronics, African drum, Indian tabla and European jazz.
And while Mr. Dango entertained us with traditional songs from his native Africa, Jan von Klewitz played his alto sax and tapped out his own rhythm, backed by trumpeter Paul, and trombonist Hilary Jeffrey whose body movements never matched anyone else’s but who never missed a beat. Amazing. So, white boys can have rhythm, and I use the term “white boys” similar to the phrase, “white boys can’t dance” which is also untrue. Some might move different than you might, or I might, as a Native American, but they do it their own way…and in this case, they did it wonderfully. A great night!
Ravi Srinivasan – vocals, tabla, electronics
Zam Johnson – drums, electronic percussion
Ibrahim Baba Dango – vocals, talking drum
Arsène Cimbar – djembe
Hilary Jeffery – trombone
Daniel Allen Oberto – trumpet, congas
Jan von Klewitz – alto sax
Paul Schwingenschlögl – trumpet, fluegelhorn, keyboard
Link to my posting at JazzKeller Gastebuch.
Will be checking out Zam, 20 October at
105 Lenz Kubach Johnson das neue Jazztrio aus Berlin
Uli Lenz (Piano)
Gerhard Kubach (Bass)
Zam Johnson (Drums)