Lisbeth Quartet, a jazz troupe featuring Charlotte Greve on saxpohone, Manuel Schimedel on piano, Moritz Baumgartner on drums and Igor Spallati on double bass, performed at a concert in Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, recently. The concert was sponsored by the Goethe Institut.
The band opened with the piece Original Source, an appropriate and well-chosen number. The track started in a slow gliding tempo, welcoming the audience and allowing them to settle down before the performance picks up pace. The piece had no fixed timing, with no set chords, tempo or rhythm. It started slow and developed to a medium tempo groove towards the end, morphing in multiple and diverse ways.
The band next rendered saxophonist John Coltrane’s version of Arthur Altman composed piece, On Or Nothing At All. Rendered in a traditional way in the beginning, Manuel returned to the main melody, improvising and repeating the movement.
The band’s next presentation, Chorale, as the title suggests, is modelled on church music, composed by pianist Manuel Schmiedel. However, it is not based on any traditional fixed form. The pianist started with a long introduction filled with rich improvisations.
Off Minor, a traditional composition by Thelonius Monk, was the next installment in the concert. Unlike classic jazz renditions, the band did not de-construct the composition. Instead, they faithfully followed Monk’s melody lines towards the beginning and near the end, making rich and diverse improvisations in between the number.
The band’s next number, Duke Ellington’s Prelude to a Kiss, was presented with originality and splendor. Audiences rejoiced on the memorable melody as the pianist braided it with a cadenza styled ending. Despite being a difficult number, the piece was well handled. This performance was followed by Charlotte Greve’s Shirley, named after Shirley Mclaine – the famous Hollywood actor of Irma la Douce. The piece is based on three elements – melodic motif, rhythmic structure and a robust bass line. Juggling between these three elements, Manuel carefully incorporated a long piano section in the middle. Igor played double bass in harmony with Moritz and Manuel throughout the performance.
Cricket, the concluding piece, composed by Charlotte Greve, was an interesting and unique musical routine. The artiste drew sounds of cricket from a YouTube video and the audience went on to discover that crickets indeed do sound like a human chorus in slow motion. The piece simulated the jazz adaptation of a human choir with all its voices emulated through the instruments.
Although Manuel’s piano led the group, Moritz’s continuous energy throughout the evening on the drumheads, ingenious cymbal work and adept use of a variety of sticks, bells and several kinds of percussion bits and pieces, enriched the concert experience for Dhaka dwellers. Igor, on double bass, was no less, testifying to his competence and remarkable bass virtuosity. Lisbeth Quartet, afterall is a group of equals. Thanks to Kirsten Hackenbroch, Director, and the Goethe-Institut Bangladesh for organising such a delightful evening where Dhaka enjoyed international standard jazz. We look forward to more such indulgences.