JazzTM, Liberty Square, Timișoara, Romania, Friday, July 2, 2021
“Since its beginning, jazz was defined as a diverse & multicultural musical genre, even before these concepts existed, a continuum mix of people, feelings and music. Starting from this idea, organizing a major jazz festival in Timisoara comes natural and symbolic. A festival creates a symbol for the city that hosts it and strengthens its identity. JAZZ™ comes to celebrate the vibrant cultural energy of Timișoara.”
The opening words of the Mayor of Timișoara and especially the attractive programme after the long concert break convinced us to stop at JazzTM on our way to the unique Gărâna Jazz Festival.
The large stage and the large auditorium on Liberty Square promised a great jazz event for 2000 – 3000 spectators, which was confirmed especially on Saturday and Sunday. Interesting were the rails just below the stage for the cameraman’s trolley, on which his assistant drove him constantly from left to right, which provided interesting opportunities for photography.
Photo gallery: Timisoara, rails under the podium, example photo with out of focus cameraman
The first Romanian band Marta Popovici & On The Fly pleasantly surprised with their modern original repertoire. The excellent singer Marta Popovici is one of the most promising voices of the new generation that makes up the contemporary Romanian jazz scene. The On The Fly project, which she founded in 2018, is based on jazz music stylistics and is a lively and fresh expression of the young local generation, combining the musical tradition of this genre with modern sounds such as soul, r&b, neo-soul, trip-hop.
Michal Kratochvíl: Great modern sung jazz in English. The compositions were original enough and the performance had juice. It was a very nice start of the festival and it is a pleasure to see that there is a very promising young generation in Romania. There were hints of prog rock in places and even a Pink Floyd vibe in some songs. If I had to compare the band’s style to someone in the Czech environment, Marta Kloučková came to mind.
Friday’s second act, Italian trio Pino Jodice meets Blewitt, brought together two different generations through music, both of whom are tasked with creating new and exciting music. Pino Jodice, pianist, composer, arranger and jazz conductor from Naples, is professor of jazz composition at the Conservatorio di Musica “Giuseppe Verdi” in Milan and founder and director of the PJO – “Pino Jodice Jazz Orchestra”, OJP – Parthenopea Jazz Orchestra.
The young generation in the trio was represented by Oscar Cherici (electric bass and double bass) and Gian Marco De Nisi (drums) from the Blewitt group, whose intention is to create music free from the constraints of the musical genre. The result is a synthesis of classical music, jazz and rock, with influences ranging from neo-soul to Mediterranean ethnic music, from avant-garde music to traditional jazz.
Michal Kratochvíl: Top trio with a very juicy sound live. I especially enjoyed the electric bass guitar in contrast with the acoustic piano. When they came together in deep tones, it was a treat. Pino Jodice is not a permanent member of Blewitt, indeed he predates them by several generations, but the youthful energy of this rhythm section seemed to infuse his veins with enthusiasm and energy and it was clear that the collaboration suited them perfectly. The sound was great and the concert had incredible pressure, considering that this was a jazz trio. I had a great time.
The highlight of the first evening was clearly the Austrian six-member Manu Delago – Circadian Ensemble, whose leading percussionist Manu Delago played very impressively on the Swiss Hang (handpan) membrane instrument. Like his last albums “Circadian” and “Circadian Live”, the Circadian Ensemble took the listener through a cycle of sleep phases: light sleep, deep sleep and sudden awakening. The live interpretation of his complex and dynamic compositions beautifully transformed the atmosphere of pulsating rhythm, euphoric atmosphere and eruptive cacophonies.
A great end to the first day at JazzTM!
Michal Kratochvíl: The acoustic opening of the concert gave a beautiful sound of handpan drums. This instrument can evoke a dreamy romantic atmosphere, which suited the evening perfectly. Then suddenly the rest of the ensemble joined in and a wave of energy poured from the stage that completely engulfed the audience. I was very pleased with the use of the bass clarinet, my favorite instrument, which has a beautiful timbre. For example, the moment when the song went from calm to a rhythmically chopped up peccado and a bass clarinet solo, it was great. When Manu sat down at the drums, the ensemble went into full swing and the hypnotic atmosphere evoked could be sliced. There was even a transverse flute or baritone saxophone, the sound of the band played with all colors, rhythmically it was interesting. I don’t think we could have asked for a better first day.