07 November 2023

Bb mates

The significant experimental-cum-jazz club in Weimar seems to be C Keller. It's behind a door littered with stickers and posters in Marktplaz, the heart of town. It opened its doors at 9pm for an opening duo at 9.30 preceding a jam session thereafter. This is a town of many music students and I think it's them who promoted and run these sessions. It's a small ground floor room, dark and littered with paints and posters, with a decent bar up two big steps and a friendly if dishevelled staff. It's free entry for the jam night (a hat is passed around for the opening band) and well priced beers so it's a cheap night out. Immensely worthy, too. Since Chris Pound introduced me to DOMi and JD Beck, I have heard or seen references all over. This band was in that style, all frenzied and inventive and odd times and deep grooves with all manner of accents and explosive phrasings and then sitting and searching electronica between tunes. They were advertised as piano and drums, but had added bass on the night. Incredibly, a wonderfully capable bassist playing first time on a fretless (a borrowed Ibanez SRF700). Pianist Franka sat with her Nord on her lap (hints of DOMi videos), all heavy then explosive then repetitive, sometimes playing with the volume on a cartoon movie projected over the band. She and bassist Philipp had charts, presumably sketches but sometimes complex bassy lines to play in ecstatic unison. Plenty of repetition of four or eight bar passages overlaid with those phrasings and those intricate, jumpy drum parts. Drummer Felix had started on an e-drum pad for heavy beats and oddly toned snares then switched to acoustic. I noticed a cloth on the snare, reminiscent of JD Beck. Not that they hid their influences when I chatted a few words with them after. Suffice to say, this was deeply thrilling to my ears, new and exploratory in the continuing history of jazz and relatives. Then on to a few jamming bands. The first was OK with a notable pairing of trombone/pocket trumpet up front playing real book charts. Then an older crew (including bassist Philipp returning on hollow body e-bass playing thumpy fingerstyle) presenting a decent bebop set. Nicely done, especially some dissonant passages the soprano sax entered into, but as I said to a Turkish musicologist I was sitting with, it's now a music of 80 years ago. Worthy but hardly the bleeding edge. That tribute can go to the opening band which, probably tongue in cheek and temporarily, was called Let's be flatmates (Let's Bb mates?).

Let's be flatmates performed at C Keller, Markt, Weimar, and were followed by a jazz jam session. Let's be flatmates comprise Franka Bayertz (keys), Felix Neumann (drums) and Philipp Thomas (bass).


Anonymous said...

Nice to have met you in Leipzig, Eric. Found your blog. Seems like I really missed something here in C-Keller Weimar. Yesterday's Leipzig Band MORPH will play in Leipzig again on Thursday at Horns Erben. This is their Monday's gig at Blue Note Dresden:
And here they played end of June at the Blue note:
And since you mentioned Gilad Hekselman - this recorded concert of Neil Richter Quartet at Blue Note Dresden features not only yesterday's pianist Victor Möhmel, but also guitarist Lorenz Glöckner who plays one of Hekselman's compositions here, plus there's energetic Drummer Heinrich Eiszmann in that quartet:
Best wishes

Eric Pozza said...

Thomas, Great to hear from you and to chat last night and thanks for all the advice on the local scene. Not easy to discover everything in one visit. And what great local musicians. A pleasure to touch on it all. BTW, it turns out my Blue Note visit (outside NYC) was in Milan not Dresden. I'll put BN Dresden on the list and watch the videos in the meantime. As for Thursday, I have tickets for visiting NYC. Looking forward to that gig and the venue UT Connewitz. Eric