By TALIYA KHAFIZOU
Hereby are some more reminiscences of JazzAscona 2016 which happened to be in Ascona, Switzerland. If you are interested ın such kind of music or just want feel some positive vibes, read more about this marvellous festival in our recent posts.
Being the only press representative from the island, Cyprus Observer has made an overview of this unique event especially for its readers. So, we hope that you will enjoy these moments of Jazz and will enrich yourself with some knowledge of this music style….
…While America can be proud of the original styles of music created within its borders, Switzerland can take pride in such event as JazzAscona Festival.
Hereby are the most precious impressions of this remarkable event.
27th of June we have started with Jazz à Bichon band, who came to Ascona from the south of France for the first time. They performed some classics of jazz in Traditional style.
What I would never forget about Jazz à Bichon is the cutest member of their band… – white furry puppy, the only presence of which made me feel joyful.
When Philippe Anhorn, the pianist and the vocalist of the band, started to sing “I want somebody to love”, holding this tender creature in his hands, I understood that would never forget such an unusual performance of classical jazz song.
Brass theme was performed by George Rolland (trumpet), Guy Champeme (clarinet), Renaud Perrais (sax & clarinet), while Jean-Pierre Dubois played on the banjo, and Robert Bichon – on the sousa.
According to the site of JazzAscona Festival, the band was formed in order to promote a less known or forgotten repertoire of the years 20-30-s. In order to do so, musicians from Jazz a Bichon adapted the music, originally for big bands, for a sextet.
The evening of 27th of June will also stay alive in my memory thanks to unforgettable performance of Lillian Boutte and Her Musicfriends.
The Queen of Ascona, amazing Lilian Boutte, was named as official conveyor of New Orleans jazz traditions – “New Orleans Musical Ambassador” – in 1986. She was the second jazz legend in the city`s history to be accorded this honor, since the very first had been Louis Armstrong.
There is a saying in some cultures, “say me who is your friend, and I will tell you who you are”. Well, this saying fits perfectly for the case with Lillian Boutte`s Musicfriends, who are all distinguished by charisma, great artistry and professionalism.
Musicians from all over the world came to join Lillian Boutte that evening: Ole Fessor Lindgren on the trombone from Kopenhagen, Uli Wunner (clarinet and alto sax) from Bavaria, Giorgos Antoniou, bass, from Greece, and Danny Illet on the guitar from England. Shannon Powel from New Orleans, unsurpassed King of Drums, one of the mightiest and the greatest of musicians present in Ascona, was also on the stage, as well as the rising Star, trumpeter, John Michael Bradford and the pianist Paul Longstreth, who often collaborates with Lillian`s sister, Teedy Boutte. Having assembled her Musicfriends on the stage, “Queen of Ascona” introduced each one of them and was in her turn solemnly introduced by Thomas L`Etienne, her husband and clarinetist from Germany.
The concert of Lillian Boutte and Her Musicfriends offered unique opportunity to witness sense of camaraderie on the stage, typical to jazz as music style. It was pleasant and intriguing at the same time to see how musicians talked to each other freely and plainly, though the content of their replica remained a sort of mystery for me. Were they jokes or words of support, or maybe just kinds of artistry tools used on the stage? Whatever was the answer, the integrity of the band, friendship and freedom of expression, existing among musicians, were doubtless.
We were very much glad to see and hear all those renowned and brilliant musicians in one place. Many thanks to them for this memorable time!
What I will always appreciate about JazzAscona Festival, is the interaction with musicians and other jazz connoisseurs. This year we have met with our good friend from Paris, Monsieur Jacques Besse, encounters with whom make me feel even happier during Jazz Ascona Festival. Let me hereby share Monsieur Besse`s opinion about Lillian Boutte & Her Musicfriends performance, published on the site of Hot Club de France:
“Thomas L`Etienne has been the perfect “maitre” (ruler) of the ceremony, and introduced the program. His friend, Ulli Wunner, and an excellent Danish trombone player Ole Fessor Lindegren had less important parts and stayed in the roles of accompaniment. Impeccable rhythmic section was formed by guitarist Denny Ilett, bassist Giorgos Antoniou, and extraordinaire drummer Shannon Powell, the soul of the orchestra”.
I have also forgotten to mention the performance of Tanya Boutte on the stage, due to unemotional character of such. Unfortunately, she was lacking some “chaleur” during the gig, as Monsieur Besse has correctly noted as well, i.e. the “ardor/passion”. Nevertheless, Tanya Boutte contributed to the warm and kind atmosphere that reigned on and beyond the stage thanks to the friendship of musicians and their shared sense of Rhythm.
Not only musicians, though, do have the shared sense of rhythm and jazzy friendship ? : below are the photos of our friends, amazing people, whom I quote with great respect and honor. They have been attending JazzAscona Festival many years already and have become its special guests : Mr Jacques Besse from “Hot Club de France”, about whom I have told earlier, and Jean Claude Ducommun from Neuchatel. Their recommendations and critiques are always worth listening to!
During the late jam session at night we heard another talented member of Boutte family – Teedy Boutte. She performed with Paul Longstreth on the piano and John Michael Bradford on the trumpet, while Pat Casey played the guitar part and Derrick Smoker was on drums.
Having unforgettable lunch in “Osteria Nostrana” with Derrick, John Michael and Pat one day, I got to know that the drummer of Teedy Boutte`s band was thought by Shannon Powel. I was curious to know what kind of teacher Shannon could be – Derrick`s words coincided with my thoughts. As told by Derrick, Shannon has been very nice teacher, he wasn`t strict at all, but inspired students with his own example, joyful mood and kind character. Besides, as Derrick said, “Shannon is wonderful chief” and cooks amazing food!
Describing the late night session of this band and atmosphere abiding there, I would quote Teedy herself:
“I have so much gratitude toward my music partner, Paul David Longstreth. Without him, I wouldn`t be able to be so free to just…SING! We`re doing fun, fab music together and it makes everything about life better. Thanks to the two inspiring musicians and wonderful friends Derrick Freeman and Pat Casey who joined us in making these sets happen this year…I am grateful for your presence.”
Well, we, in our turn, were also grateful for the presence of all such musicians.
Luca Filastro Trio with special guest, saxophonist Red Pellini offered us another opportunity to savor high quality music. Many people were impressed by Luca Filastro`s play – his hands were moving just in the twinkle of an eye. It was incredible!!!
Monsieur Jean Claude Ducommun from Neuchatel, with whom we have made another memorable acquaintance this year, remembers his first meeting with maestro Filastro:
“I firstly met him several years ago: he came to Ascona for the first time and looked like a tourist, very modest, in simple jeans and with a rucksack behind his back. When suddenly he appears on the stage…and starts playing piano! And he plays like legendary Fats Waller – amazingly and immaculately. Afterwards, he comes to Ascona again but not alone, with a “Trio” that has been impressing Jazz Ascona Festival spectators from then on.”
Modest, although greatly gifted, young but highly professional – Luca Filastro has been performing in Jazz Ascona this year, too, brightening the Festival with his wonderful gigs.
As site of JazzAscona has noted, “At only 23, Luca Filastro is one of the most promising talents of stride piano and traditional jazz.”
Beside the pianist of great Talent and mastership, Luca Filastro’s wonderful Trio was comprised of the drummer Alberto Botta – grand musician with a fabulous sense of rhythm, and bassist Guido Giacomini, who perfectly accompanied and improvised on his instrument.
One evening Luca Filastro`s Trio was accompanied by already mentioned musician Red Pellini – this collaboration was great. To my mind, Red Pellini is endowed with so called “feeling of the instrument”.
He was integral with the instrument, felt the nature of it. He knew how to express something coming from his soul in the seductive sound of saxophone so that the music communicated so much and went from heart to heart in harmonious flow.
Sharing JazzAscona 2016 afterglows with dear readers, I cannot omit two other bands: The Primatics and Opé Smith & Jazz Legends. Both of the bands come from France.
Being the Audience Award Winners, the Primatics gave 5 concerts this year – which is quite a big number for Jazz Ascona Festival program. Nevertheless, the band managed to hypnotize people this year again attracting crowds of people by each and every gig.
The Primatics with David Costa Coelho as the leader gave an unforgettable show in their own highly artistic and humorous manner. Portuguese by his origin, David Costa Coelho sang spectacular hits of legendary Louis Prima and other classics of jazz.
Together with great Primatics band formed by musicians-actors-dancers-and multitalented people at once, they ignited Ascona and made people keep swingin` and dancing, singing and laughing throughout their concerts.
Camaraderie and musical joy that musicians displayed were the testament to the talent and charisma of the leader David Costa Coelho and to the unifying nature of the music they performed.
Many thanks to Monsieur Bertrand Henrion, the boss of the band, and musicians: Francis Guero on the trombone, Julien Silvand on the trumpet, Julien Duchet, on the saxophone, Fabien Saussaye on majestic piano, Stéphane Barral on the bass, and Simon Boyer on the drums.
Opé Smith & Jazz Legends were performing mostly in the style of Soul the last two days of AsconaJazz Fesival. Stylish, show-like concert of these marvelous stars impressed many people – Opé Smith appeared in Ascona Festival for the first time, but his debut has been just incredible. The one and only French song of Opé Smith, sang in the Festival, even made me cry! So sensual, sincere, emotional and beautiful it was. While the famous hit “Hey, Jude” cheered the audience up: no one was able to resist to such happy vibrations and dancing mood.
Lovely Soul of Opé Smith, bright Jazz Legends– without them AsconaJazz Festival impressions would be incomplete. These guys told beautiful stories so that people also felt connected to them.
Paolo Alderighi & Stephanie Trick Double Trio presented an outstanding four hands piano play, which was a display of the great mastery, sentimental journey, and magnificent show at the same time and in the same place – JazzAscona Festival 2016 ? .
Stephanie performed with her husband, acclaimed pianist Paolo Alderighi, making fresh arrangements of songs from the Swing Era in a four-hands piano duo.
I especially appreciated the “double trio” performance on two pianos, accompanied by drummer Nicola Stranieri and bassist Roberto Piccolo.
Expressing my overall impression of this beautiful woman, Stephanie Trick, I would like to quote an American jazz pianist Dick Hyman who said about Stephanie following words: “One of the nicest gifts to arrive on the jazz piano scene in recent times, and we couldn’t be more delighted to welcome her.” So was, undoubtedly, Ascona – delighted to see charming duet of Stephanie Trick and Paolo Alderighi on the stages of Jazz Festival. As Dick Hyman told: “Individually they are marvelous musicians – we’ve known that, but together they play 4-handed stride as it’s never been done. Brava, bravo!”
It seems hard to express JazzAscona Festival 2016 in prose – so bright, unforgettable it was.
Expressing my sincerest gratitude for these unforgettable moments to everyone who contributed to them (including Ticinese sunshine, the band of romantic moon and stars, and the gourmet mix of gelati-jambalaya-vongole-orzo ? ), I am ending this article with a slight poetic touch and my innermost feelings.
By voice, by dance,
by emotions and sounds –
musicians charged Ascona
with positive vibes….
MANY THANKS TO THEM for this MAGIC thing called JAZZ!
by Taliya Khafizou
Photos by Almira Khafizou