Report: International Jazzwerkstatt, Saarwellingen

Bruce Barth, Guliermo Rozenthuler, Tina May Stephen Keogh,
Francesco Petreni, Jeremy Brown
International Jazzwerkstatt Saarwellingen 2013
Photo:Melody Mclaren

Sebastian Scotney writes:

I’ve came over to the Saarland for the last day and a half of the Global Music Foundation’s summer course here in Saarwellingen. This is a small town; we’re about 25km from the linguistic fault-line, the border of the Lorraine region of France.

83 enrolled students and 17 faculty have been here for a week. The students come from all over: Germany, the UK, elsewhere in Europe and the US and even Japan. They participate in a full daily programme, starting with Tai Chi at 9am, through pulse, vocal class, samba school, instrumental classes, combos, nightly concert and jam session. I haven’t been at a summer school for nearly  a decade, and have been enjoying that purposeful sense of community- and individual confidence-building and conviviality around the music.

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These pictures are from the final tutor concert, which featured the Tina May/ Guillermo Rozenthuler/ Stephen Keogh project Musica Paradiso, with songs from films of the 50’s and 60’s. They are part of an amazing feed of photos from the course  by Melody Mclaren, capturing the spirit of the place. They’e all on her Facebook Albums Page. The speed at which Melody gets photos online is staggering.

Guliermo Rozenthuler, Tina May. Photo Credit: Melody McLaren

May and Rozenthuler are well-matched, experienced performers who can both shape the arc of a melody or tease it and subvert it. They were throwing out constant challenges to an elite rhythm section, who gave back, as soon as, and as good as they got. I was particularly taken by Bruce Barth‘s ability to have the dialogue at intimate conversational volume level. This was because, earlier in the evening, In the trio context, he had dug deep into the keys and produced full, stentorian tone. Here, adapting to the half-lights and flickering shadows of the accompanist’s world he was a different – and equally fine – player.  

The hall for the concert is an old industrial building, a Nobel dynamite factory, situated – logically – right by a lake, in a new residential/small business ‘campus’. The townspeople of Saarwellingen were out in force for the concert. They seem to rather like having this international jazz gathering in their midst, and were attentive, appreciative and friendly.

The course has been neatly tied in with the ‘Arbeitsphase’ of the regional Youth Jazz Orchestra, who will give a concert tonight.For more on background to the Youth Jazz Orchestra scene in Germany, READ ON.

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