Wednesday, April 29, 2020

COVID-19 Level 3: Day 2

Loft CologneThere have been many live streamed concerts since the lockdown began, but the first I’ve tuned into was this morning’s duo concert by Frank Gratkowski (alto sax) and Simon Seidl (piano) at The Loft in Cologne. The concert was titled “Mainstream & Beyond: in memoriam Lee Konitz”, and while the tribute concert is not really my thing, I wasn’t going to pass by a chance to hear Frank playing on the Konitz and Tristano lines and standard tunes (a rarity). 

Of course the wifi decided to cut out right as they were about to start! I got back online during “Stella by Starlight” - other tunes included the likes of “Subconscious-Lee”, “Body & Soul”, “Dreams”, Albert Mangelsdorf’s “Hot Hut”, “Ice Cream Konitz”, “Prelude to a Kiss”, “Just Friends” and “Ablution”. I noticed the audience peaked around 95... 85 was about average (based on the comments it was largely a German audience). Really nicely recorded too. The Loft is streaming Frank live again tomorrow – 7am NZ time – solo and duo.
James Wylie
Last week I mentioned that I need to address my lack of James Wylie recordings, so until I do, Benjamin Schaefer’s Quiet Fire will fill the void. As the name suggests it may be a little on the quiet side, but it doesn’t lack spark. It has a certain warmth, even during some of the more abstract moments, that I find very appealing. It’s not an album that’s going to smack you over the head, and I like that. The quintet has a different weight to it - the drums have a (mostly) textural role and the presence of harp brings a lightness. If you’re looking for deep swing, look elsewhere. But I wasn’t, so I didn’t.

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