GARANA Jazz Festival, Garana, Romania, Sunday, July 11, 2021
The program of the fifth and final concert of the jubilee 25th GARANA Jazz Festival on Sunday attracted a very large and appreciative audience to the Wolf Meadow once again.
The original opening of the last festival concert belonged to the duo Luiza Zan & Barabás Lőrinc. One of the most distinctive European jazz singers Luiza Zan from Romania performed with Hungarian trumpeter Barabás Lőrinc. The very interesting duo managed to captivate and move the receptive audience, including both of us. It’s hard to describe their music more, try to listen to the video sample below.
Michal Kratochvíl: The combination of Barabás’s trumpet and electronics with Luiza’s captivating charismatic voice worked perfectly at the beginning of the final day and we witnessed a very successful performance. They even liked it so much that they had to step it up a notch. The audience at the Garana is truly fantastic.
In the Romanian band VanDerCris, a special combination of musicians has gathered: Horea Crișovan – guitar, Lucian Nagy – flute, saxophone, Marcelle Poaty Souami – keyboards, Dănuț Blaga – bass, Florin Cvașa – drums. The band wearing the complicated and over-synthesized name VanDerCris after the lead guitarist Horea CrișoVan performed mediocre fusion that really didn’t impress me.
Michal Kratochvíl: The first song reminded me of Pat Metheny and I hoped that the nice guitar jazz would continue. However, after a while the romantic songs seemed too sweet and quite similar. It was more of a pleasant backdrop than music for focused listening. On one of the tracks, the band got their bearings and managed to rock out a solid funky blast spiced up with a slapping bass solo. Then the show picked up a bit and it got more into the rock groove until hilarious overdriven prog rock rolled off the stage at the end.
The penultimate performance of the festival belonged to the English band Bill Laurance Trio consisting of Bill Laurance – piano, Max Luthert – bass and Lithuanian Marijus Aleksa – drums. Pianist Bill Laurance, who won several Grammy Awards as a member of Snarky Puppy, played in Garana mainly the strongest of his own compositions from his latest album Cables. His passionate and colorful improvisations put the large audience in a good mood for the highlights of the final night and the entire festival.
Michal Kratochvíl: The Snarky Puppy members were ripped apart in Romania (see previous JazzTM reports). Bill Laurance prefers a modern, dense sound in his trio, the imaginative rhythm drives everything forward and the energy from the stage is just gushing. In the perhaps already a bit oversaturated field of piano trios, it is necessary to distinguish oneself somehow, I am not sure if Bill succeeds in doing so, anyway his group is one of the best that can be seen on the scene and I duly enjoyed their set.
The end of the unique JazzFest in Garana belonged to the quartet Lars Danielsson Liberetto and his latest project Cloudland, which contains not only elegant lyrical qualities but also diverse musical colours. The four outstanding musicians Lars Danielsson – bass, Grégory Privat – piano, John Parricelli – guitar and Magnus Öström – drums thrilled everyone present with their perfect interplay and virtuoso solos. The second encore ended at 02:30 to a thunderous ovation from the enthusiastic audience.
A perfect culmination of the whole JazzFest and a celebration of contemporary modern jazz!
Michal Kratochvíl: Everything came together beautifully and the European Football Championship final ensured that this concert and the culmination of the festival will be truly spectacular. Lars Danielsson presented his latest stunning album Cloudland in Garana with an absolutely top-notch line-up of musicians who are able to conjure up unforgettable moments on stage. Gregory Privat, a representative of the younger generation, stood out in particular, driving the audience into ecstasy with his excited solos. The whole quartet, however, was at full power, and veteran crafter Magnus Öström expertly propelled and secured the band, but most importantly played to the music’s advantage to make Lars’ beautiful melodic compositions stand out. A beautiful dream ride, all you had to do was close your eyes and let yourself drift. I recommend you listen to the album and do the same, and you can best see what it was like in concert in the attached video. The audience persevered until the end because this was a real concert gem and we even managed to shout out 2 encores. The end of a packed festival as it should be.
A wonderful celebration of the 25th anniversary and a promise for the future that Garana JazzFest will be here for at least another 25 years. I’m already looking forward to going there again sometime!
The 25th GARANA Jazz Festival was an extraordinary success. We can only highly appreciate the organizers who prepared for their long-time spectators in these difficult times a top-notch showcase of European jazz in a unique atmosphere in the Wolf’s Meadow in the Carpathian forests. An unforgettable experience!