HomeBlogsjoakims's blogGermany's Vocal Jazz Summit Does Not Disappoint

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Ok, so it was great. What, exactly, was great? I didnt get there until Thursday, so I missed VoKaL ToTaL (with the festivals founder Mattias Becker) and the Real Group (we Swedes are way too spoiled with their brilliance). According to the people who were there, it was a strong start that paved the way for the success of the rest of the festival.

My festival started with workshops on Thursday, where I watched Peder Karlsson working with Dutch group BeJazzled, and later on a workshop with Andrea Figallo (the Flying Pickets) talking about the secrets of vocal percussion.

The day at the University where the workshops were held culminated with Meet Take 6. A Q&A session mixed with a practical exercise where the audience gave Mark Kimble a few notes and some lyrics which he then arranges in a typical Take 6 manner. Hearing the guys coming straight from the flight doing If We Ever was just amazing. They are truly the real superstars of a cappella music.

The concert on Thursday was a threesome, starting with a high energy set by Dutch superstars Montezumas Revenge (singing and rocking while performing explicit choreography was really impressive), followed by Rajatons unique Finish-ethnic type of vocal jazz. Judging from the overall talk at the festival, Rajaton probably made the biggest impression on most people. If you havent heard them live yet, you have something to look forward to! The concert was topped off by m-pact who were really rocking the house great stuff! And that vocal scratch thingwow. It really took a while for most jaws to get back in the right place after hearing Britt Quentin for the first time live.

On Friday, there more interesting workshops but also time for a genuine German beer in the sun (it was about 25-30 C).

The New York Voices and their trio kicked off the evening concert with Sing! Sing! Sing! and continued on their swinging path with both new and old stuff. They are really four great solists. As a baritone, Ive told myself to have Peter Eldrige as an model, but who wouldnt like to solo like Darmon Meader? And Lauren Kinhan.and Kim Nazarian? This is music!

Then Take 6 came on stage. They were a bit troubled (or at least we in the audience were) by a pretty busy and loud sound. There was too much bass and VP, which sometimes made the intricate stuff to get lost. But still, they put on a great show, and when Gene Puerling and Phil Mattson came on stage, another of those magic Vocal Jazz Summit moments took place.

The concert on Saturday was perhaps the biggest surprise of all. We didnt know what to expect of the two German jazz choirs Vivid Voices and Jazzchor Freiburg, Danish Vocal Line and finally German vocal group and big band BuJazzO. My personal experience of jazz choirs has been less than good, but the first two choirs really showed what could be done if you put some effort in to it.

But then the Danes came on stageIve been singing in choirs since I was 10, been doing some of the most complicated stuff out there and in some of the best choirs, and I never thought that I would experience a choir that really redefined for me what choir singing could accomplish. This was for me the real eye-opener of the festival. Vocal Lines records are good, but what they proved for me on the Saturday evening was that there are really no limits for where vocal music can take us, and that just when you thought you had heard it all, there is still someone out there who is ready to surprise you.

There are already rumours about a possible next festival and all of the participating artists were really impressed and inspired by the very interested audience containing some of their most enthusiastic fans and colleagues. Whatever happens in the future, the Vocal Jazz Summit will be remembered as the most fun and friendly festival ever, where the giants met for the first time.


Note: see "multimedia > photo gallery" for photos of this event