Jazzdor Berlin 2013: Berlin, Germany, June 5-8, 2013
H3B brought together Régis Hubyone of France's most appreciated jazz violinists (he is one of only a few who regularly play the tenor violin), Sébastien Boisseau, an exceptional rhythmical bassist, and trumpeter Tom Arthurs (originally from Scotland, now living in Berlin), who replaced the group's third B two years ago. The current leader, pianist Denis Badault , is a musician who has yet to get more attention and recognition internationally.
H3B provided sensations of delightful dizziness. The group's music rose up with strong and clear groove-driven motifs, melodies projected deep into space, and a special inherent tension. Its dialectics let the music shift into more reflective moodsdreamy, evenor let it drift into revealing unexpected inner qualities. The musicians of H3B played the music's own shadows in a way that eventually made it accessible, sophisticated, thrilling and joyful. Without doubt a good joker for that night.
Thursday, June 6
The second day again offered an evening full of contrasts: bebop-shredder Actuum, with its improbable variations on "Salt Peanuts," drummer Denis Charolles and guitarist David Chevallier liaising with chanteuse dangereuses, Scottish vocalist Maggie Nichols, and, at last, tenor grandeur with eminent German veteran, Heinz Sauer.
Actuum (pronounced: ahktoum) is a new French band of four highly motivated and disciplined young musicians: saxophonist Benjamin Dousteyssier, trumpeter Louis Lorrain, bassist Ronan Courty and drummer Julien Loutelier.
With quick leaps, halts and accelerations these four musician rushed along virtual lines, alertly tying together their odd, fragmented instrumental lines to create something somewhere in between Mostly Other People Do the Killing and Der Rote Bereich. Actuum's music clearly demanded a high degree of coordination and the exchange of energy. At certain moments the group temporarily got into big flowfrom which an energy burst and great cadence resultedindicating what would be possible to achieve in terms of energy. Actuum's energy levels decreased when it refocused on its next bumpy stretch, but the group adhered to its line monolithically, ready to soon achieve that higher level of energy. Everyone drank from the same bottle of beer during their performancewhich was almost empty by the show's conclusion.
David Chevallier, Denis Charolles, Maggie Nicols: old things with new young players and some new things with a well known veteran free singer. Chevallier played a great banjo intro on "The Times They Are A-Changin' , " Bob Dylan's famous fifty year-old song. More of the greats from that time included music from Otis Redding, which received that typical Nicolsonian treatment of devotion, exaltation and agitation. Nicols mimicked the song's original voice, alternating with her very own cooing, gurgling and groaningand also some pseudo tap-dancingwhich exhilarated and underscored the memories of the original songs and singers. Lots of shoo-bees without the doo! Wonderful oddities, with lots of musical elements and approaches, with John Fahey, Eugene Chadbourne and Robert Crumb never that far away. The threesome overstretched its bounds, however, when rendering Georges Brassens. Nicols turned out to be strongest when she returned to her Anglian roots at the end.