Semi Finals 1st day: July 2nd Montreux Petit Theatre 5pm: Welcome to the Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition!

The audience is sitting down, the first member of the band picks up the bass… you can already feel the atmosphere… The girls backstage look just georgeous, so let’s go for Vocal Jazz!

5:08 Official Welcome … all seats are taken – there must be around 300 people in the room, some stand in the back of the room. We are so are excited!

5:12 Natalia sings “FOUR”, piano solo, just a little scat, drumsolo and one chorus out. That was a good start. Her own choice is “GEORGIA” – she interprets the song very nice with embellishments taken from Pop and Gospel, her voice is beautiful…

the live-stream camera - picking up Natalia                           Natalia sings "FOUR"

5:21 Boblarka starts with a rhythmic introduction for “NICA’S DREAM”. She sings the theme her own way, very natural and yes: Jazz! Her scat builds up very well, after the piano solo she takes another interactive chorus with the piano-player … and: she has FUN! Her friends and family in Hungary watch the livestream and keep the fingers crossed for her. “VERY EARLY” is already a very difficult song – but she sings it in 5/4 with such feeling and also scats through these heavy changes. I sang that song on my Final Exam for the Bachelor of Music at the Conservatory of Amsterdam … So in 5 with scat: Boblarka: WOW!                                                             

5:34 Sarah has also chosen “FOUR” to be her first song – but she sings a different version, different lyrics and adds a vocalese as third chorus. In her scat – the bebop languages arrives with Ornitology-citations… That’s a very playful way of singing this tune! And the audience really likes it too. She has avery tender way of dealing with the songs – her second is “SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME”.

5:45 Charlotte starts with “Grooving high”. She starts out the song in a very low key, comes with interesting timing in her scat-singing and finished this first run with a theme sang one octave higher. After the Pianosolo again the theme in the higher octave and I can hear some singing approaches switching the vocal registers like Rachel Ferrel does it. “LADY BE GOOD” shows 200 facettes of her voice – already in the first 16 bars … that’s something! By the way: I am writing while the candidates perform – so thats real-time-comments! Charlotte is definitly a stage-person with some cabaret-talent too. Her scat-singing is excellent, full of Jazz-History mixed with sounds from Amy Winehouse.

5:58 Aysel has a nice way to introduce us to the verse of “FASCINATING RHYTHM” smoothly giving the time to the band entering the theme of the song. Her Scat-singing is happening, she builds the song up together with the band into a joyful last chorus. Her second song is a popular tune from Azerbaijan – she now plays the piano herself together with the band. The mix between a tradition of her country with quarter notes and these beautiful embellishments are integrated in a groovy straight 8th-note-song… that just changed to swing… whith her scat-singing supporting her ideas with ther pianoplaying, lines, intervalls, inside, outside – yeah! That’s a very interesting arrangement – now: back to the groove. Again – the band is doing a great job here! Aysel you showed two times fascinating rhythm 🙂 !

Wow – now good luck to the jury to remember these candidates and listen to the ones from tomorrow too and decide who will be the final three… That will not be an easy job I think…

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