27 October 2018
Getting out at night is usually good entertainment but I wondered if Munich might be a quiet stop. We’d looked up the jazz and classical and it seemed costly, and some was. Like one orchestra with tickets starting at €59 ($A95) or an unknown jazz quartet at a renowned club for €38 ($61). Especially given frequent attendance, this was scary. So we looked for some free stuff, perhaps in churches or cheaper clubs. I still plan on that expensive club, if only for the jam session. And we did book in the back row for a matinee for the Münchner Philharmoniker and that was cheap. So not all was lost. And I decided on Cafe Vogler on Friday when they have a jazz band (other nights mostly duos).
I lucked out, not so much for experimentation as for entertainment. This was a noisy, vibrant scene. Standing was difficult and seating was mostly reserved but I moved through a few spots as people arrived and ended sitting up front and chatting with the band in breaks. This was a quartet led by singer/pianist Karen Edwards. The backing trio was pulled together for the night, reading charts that were handed out before sets. I like to see professionalism and that was evident here. Some reads were challenging but the feels were good. Obviously Karen knew her stuff, but I particularly loved her comping behind solos where her movements and colours enhanced the band. Guitarist John’s solos were not flashy but lovely, correct, melodic statements, spelling changes with clarity, both harmonically and tonally on a Tele. Rick had pulled the band together and again was not flamboyant but just correct. Nice. We chatted about remembering tunes and spelling changes and we could only agree on correctness and clarity before all. And Gary was clearly concentrating on the charts and did them proud. I noticed their names: none German. Karen was clearly from the US given her accent on mic and no German names amongst the others. They seemed to be long-term German residents from the US. John told me of playing with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (yep, Wikipedia puts him ~1975-78) and bass with Fats Domino. Also of playing big band with Gary (viz. the reading skills). Rick was about to go off to tour and record with his own quartet. So not surprising that this was a capable night. The music was jazzy with deep soul colours given that lovely gospel voice and lively piano playing and a string of classy popular numbers, from Kern to today, not least Sorry seems to be the hardest word, I’ll never fall in love again, Just the two of us and Chick Corea High wire. So, a lively gig in a lively venue and a waitress offering drinks as required. Then, on the way home, further amusement watching the filming of an episode of a German TV homicide show: entertaining if tedious, as film shoots are. An enjoyed Friday night outing.
Karen Edwards (vocals, piano) led a band with John Paiva (guitar), Gary Todd (bass) and Rick Hollander (drums) at the Jazzcafe Vogler in Munich.