18 October 2012
Brave Mr Blackbird
Night two of the European Jazz Nights mini festival at the Victoria Nasjonal Jazzscene and it’s another three bands. The first band tonight is Loch / Balthus / Herskedal. Now this is an interesting combination and a change from the piano / bass / drums + sax standard. This is piano, trumpet / flugelhorn and tuba. Can these guys swing with this mix? Yes. It was a very cosy and sometimes bouncy swing, sometime with a circus-vibe, and quite gentle and lyrical set of tunes, but these guys did swing. I loved the tuba with its gentle and billowing groove that had just enough attack to lay down the beat. And Daniel Herskedal’s tuba just cut the bass lines. They were right on, swinging and sweetly embroidered with higher register fills and truncated notes, or bow-like with big, sustained tones. This was nice playing and perfectly catching the bass role in jazz and giving it that warm presence of tuba. Lovely! The others were similarly lyrical. Bert Lochs on trumpet and more frequently on the warmer flugelhorn stated his own melodic tunes with smooth melody and honey solos. Dirk Balthus’ piano was restrained and direct with intimations of Keith Jarrett and dissonances from symmetric movements up or down the keyboard. This music sat gently and eased the mind and heart. One composition was called Brave Mr Blackbird and it told the story of this music. Others were called Zany or B-tango or Capriccioso, but I felt Mr Blackbird better expressed the heartfelt simplicity of the band. It was soft and I enjoyed the honesty and the different tonality of this band. Something different; something true. Bert Lochs (trumpet, flugelhorn), Dirk Balthus (piano) and Daniel Herskedal (tuba) opened for the second European jazz night at the Victoria Nasjonal Jazzscene in Oslo.