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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



 

THE BEST OF JAZZ IN BURGHAUSEN Vol. 2, 2005

Double Moon DMCHR 71703

 

 

Roy Hargrove & the RH Factor
1. Hold On

2. Universe
Djabe

3. First Step

4. Tancolnak a Kazlac
Arfie "La Grande Illusion"

5. Panzer

6. 3 x Sax 3 Pattes
Gregory Gaynair's Pimiento Express

7. De Voto

8. Yes It's True
McCoy Tyner Trio featuring Bobby Hutcherson

9. Steppin'

10. Angelina
John Lee Hooker Jr. Blues Band

11. Hey Baby

12. Suspicious
Lynne Arriale Trio

13. Home

14. Brasiliana
The Big Chris Barber Band

15. Devaluation Blues

16. Lead Me On

 

This DVD contains a strange mixture of musical styles. The DVD was recorded at the International Jazz Week in Burghausen, a jazz festival in Germany which has been held annually for nearly 40 years. The organisers clearly have an eclectic approach to programming, so the sample on the DVD ranges from the memorable to the forgettable.

The programme opens with Roy Hargrove and the RH Factor, a group whose jazz-fusion style is nearer soul than jazz, especially as it features singers as much as instrumentalists. Two vocalists sing Hold On and Roy Hargrove plays a fragmentary solo. Roy sings on the next song, Universe, starting by scatting before the other singers join in. Roy's trumpet solo is repetitive. I saw Hargrove recently at Ronnie Scott's in London: he wasn't playing precisely in this style but I was still bored.

Matters improve slightly with Djabe, another jazz-fusion group whose music is at least flavoured with overtones of folk and world music. There is some thrilling percussion from the kit drummer and the conga drums.

The next act - Arfie "La Grande Illusion" - is a bit of a mystery. Its name may refer to Jean Renoir's classic 1937 movie but I couldn't see much connection between the film and what looked like a kind of "happening" on stage. The 13-piece group looked weird and played weirdly, with lots of free-form shrieking from various instruments. At one point the group turned into a brass band in which every player had three legs - shades of Rolf Harris! Maybe it all meant something, but I was not amused. It was a relief to watch pianist Gregory Gaynair's Pimiento Express playing a gentle bossa nova and a slightly faster samba.

Then came one of the two highlights of the festival: the McCoy Tyner Trio featuring vibist Bobby Hutcherson. Their version of Steppin' included some characteristically mind-boggling piano from McCoy, especially when he played unaccompanied, revelling in his astonishing technique and fast fingering. The following Angelina was slower but still had that irresistible energy.

The John Lee Hooker Jr. Blues Band was nothing special but it was followed by the superb trio of Lynne Arriale. In their first number, Home, Lynne's piano playing was beautifully measured and tasteful. The following Brasiliana upped the tempo but maintained the good taste and lyricism.

The Big Chris Barber Band rounded off the DVD with a slow-burning blues featuring a wailing electric guitar. Lead Me On switched the mood to traditional jazz, with a spiritual played by the band stripped down to a trad sextet. It was good to see trumpeter Pat Halcox and trombonist Chris Barber still playing with their customary conviction.

It is difficult to sum up such a varied DVD. You may well enjoy it for its eclecticism or you may wish to buy it simply to watch the artists you know you will probably like. At any rate, the quality of sound and vision is good, even if the music is variable.

Tony Augarde


 



 

 

 

 



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