Jonas Westergaard Trio + Elias Stemeseder / PHILM at Zig Zag Jazz Club, Berlin – News, reviews, articles and commentary from the London jazz scene and beyond


“Inside…” series: Jonas Westergaard Trio / Elias Stemeseder with PHILM by Philipp Gropper,

(Zig Zag Jazz Club, Berlin. October 31, 2021. Live review and phone snapshots by AJ Dehany)

From left to right: Elias Stemeseder, Philipp Gropper, Oliver Steidle. Hidden: Robert Landfermann

The “Inside…” series is as simple as it is flexible. Since 2020, it allows an “exceptional artist from the avant-garde / progressive / experimental Berlin jazz scene” to select and present a project. For his second series of “Inside…”, you can choose from Julia Hülsmann, Max Andrzejewski, Elias Stemeseder, Taiko Saito, Jonas Westergaard, Silke Eberhard, Marc Muellbauer, Lucas Dorado or Julia Kadel… – artists not necessarily from Berlin but which are based on its rich scene. Each evening of the series makes brains sparkle with comparisons and contrasts with two separate sets at the Zig Zag Club on Hauptstrasse in Berlin’s Friedenau district.

Usually a midweek affair, this special Sunday reaches “inside …”, with Danish bassist Jonas Westergaard and Austrian pianist Elias Stemeseder was buzzing. He infused a blend of vibrant enthusiasm mixed with a euphemism for hype or reputation, scored against a solid respect and belief in the power of art, with no concern for watering it down or fearing the challenge. . It was fun but difficult music: the two sets mixed composition and improv so completely that as a listener you have to try not to think about it too much and if you recognize this or that event, enjoy it. , but above all you listen and continue to listen.

Jonas Westergaard presented a progressive trio of three Great Danes with himself on bass, Søren Kjærgaard at the piano and Pierre Bruun to the battery. Bruun is perhaps best known as a third of Django Bates’ Beloved Trio. Like this trio, the individual personalities and their intertwined conversations and the freewheeling reconfiguration of the material at each moment are virtuosos, albeit a little more subdued; less ostensibly postmodern. Along stuck up had sheet music, but much the same as in English, the first 300 words make up about 65% of all written material (I can’t speak Danish or German, maybe they are more flowery!). These are only twelve notes after all, and with truly developed musical imaginations, the notes seem almost incidental. This music of the third stream was characterized by space, delicate listening, moments of calm with a curious restlessness accelerating towards a frantic nervous energy, with a measured rhythm that made it an ensemble with a sense of the formal sense of chamber music.

Søren Kjærgaard, Jonas Westergaard, Peter Bruun

Opening of the concert, pianist and synth genius Elias Stemeseder joins the powerful composer and saxophonist Philipp gropperof the PHILM trio with Robert landfermann on bass and Olivier Steidle to the battery. Stemeseder’s skinny electronic setup with mini midi and analog synths alongside the house piano gives him a role similar to that of Elliot Galvin in Led Bib lately: bringing in dark and intimidating textures, and flushing out the electronic sound and sounds. sound candies, which jam and collide in a fascinating against the acoustic trio. Philipp Gropper’s haunting melodic saxophone playing draws on a fluid twelve-tone jazz vocabulary with a restless and inquisitive sense to bring and distill a sense of ’60s wonder into something both ancient and new.

The series “Inside…” showcases the formidable talent of Berlin, and it would be a great thing to see other cities show their products. It would be a tautology on London’s part given that it is fairly well represented, but there are so many places whose scenes strike well above their weight: Birmingham, Newcastle, Munich, Vienna, Rennes, Valencia. …. This is not so much a self-centered claim of a place waving a flag, but a way for places to connect to other places, from person to person through a shared language: simple, flexible. , difficult, but beautiful. Listen and keep listening.

AJ Dehany writes independently on music, art and other things.

LINK: Club Zig Zag home page


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