July 4th 2012 – Finals SHURE Montreux Jazz Voice Competition

The room is packed. Press is there, waiting for the competition to start. Our live-stream is already online. And: I was just asked to fill the space while the jury deliberates and play some tunes with this nice band. YES! This will be very spontaneous – no charts, no prepared arrangements, no high heels 🙂 … but certainly: JAZZ JAZZ JAZZ SWING JAZZ LATIN JAZZ BLUES JAZZ JAZZ JAZZ …

5:17 We are already waiting … the live-stream is on … it was a beautiful day today outside, very very hot … inside the temperature is just a little lower – it is hot in here … and on stage there are brasilian temperatures the Singers told me … now we hope the jury will arrive soon and the finals start … so: stay tuned!

5:20 It starts! …for you just to remember: application from 27 countries were received – 11 candidates were selected, in the semifinals 2 times 5 Singers performed, yesterday the jury selected 3 out of these… Each finalist will present one own song, and 2 free choices. They will play in alphabetic order.

5:27 Sarah Lancman starts with Horace Silvers tune: “NICA’S DREAM” – a song with a latin groove. Actually the song is about a Baroness who loved Jazz and stayed in close contact to the Jazzmusicians starting in the raise of Bebop in the 40ies: Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarte. She was a big “sponsor” and “host” for the musicians – so Jazz is an art, and art needs sponsors, competitions and poeple who love it, put themselves in an organising position – so thanks to all of you: SHURE, MONTREUX JAZZ FESTIVAL, all you people helping us musicians to develop our art and artistry, MUSICLOVERS… Sarah sings it just beautifully- it is intense and without anything that doesn’t belong to the music. For her second song “THE BOY NEXT DOOR” she sits behind the piano and comps herself together with the two members of the band. She scats – and plays along at the piano. With such a nice phrasing, relaxed, some great back-phrasing, to the point, gentle – WOW! Oh my good – this is beautiful! and such an unexpected chord to end the song… it was her own composition. THAT OLD BLACK MAGIC is an old swing – and Sarah can swing. She swings in a very nice, subtle way, changes the original rhyhthm … the drummer is constantly smiling – that tells it all. People in the room are clapping hard and cheering.

5:40 Marie Martin tells us: “DON’T GET AROUND MUCH ANYMORE” in a groovy Latin style and takes this song out of the Swing-Big Band-era into a more modern interpretation. She adds pop-phrasing, modern belt-sounds and crazy triplets against the straight 16nth notes played by the band. “YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT LOVE IS” just started by Marie and Sebastian at the bass. She showes a very personal style of variations and embellishments, melismatic changes of the melody notes. She definitly tells the story, it sounds like she knows what she is singing about. Connecting to her spanish roots – she sings “SPAIN” by Chick Corea (1972) – inspired by the famous “Concierto de Aranjuez” composed by Joaquin Rodrigo in 1939 in Paris. Marie scat-sings and it totally back in this Latin-style – no pop-phrasing anymore, just accurate 16th notes in unison with the band – and thats really difficult, believe me. A dag in the audience helped her finishing the song 🙂 …she goes back to her personal style of embellishments to finish the song. The audience is enthusiastic.

5:59 Elena Mindru wants to tell a story to us: “old but still true” she says: “NATURE BOY”. Her scat-solo starts with sounds like coming from a trumpet playing in another room. The song is played in a funky way. Her natural way of being is also convincing. Horace Silver is her favourite Jazz-composer and we again listen to NICA’S DREAM. Elenas version starts with sounds made by consonants: ts t k ttt k ts sssss … in a rhythimcal way. Her impro goes to notes with pitch, nice choices, some glottal sounds that might be inspired by the music of her origin: Romania – very original, very personal, convincing. Now she sings her own song and the singing style changes more towards soul. Another way of improvising comes up – groovy and interesting. It’s a good interesting song… I didn’t get the title – I will ask her later. Also big applause for Elena from the audience.

Again: good luck to the jury, all three candidates are original, personal, have their own sweet way, a highly developed artistry – if I just may say my opinion, a total different approach toward Jazz-music, brilliant vocal technique, good harmonic knowledge for scat-singing, are good performers, interesting timing, they interact with the band – it’s fun to listen to all of them. Wow – I am not in the jury – I am writing the blog and enjoying the performance. And I’ll be on stage soon – and that’s the best. For you three girls: Sarah, Marie and Elena: you are WINNERS!

6:48 I am just back from the stage to my seat in the first row. Two songs: Stormy Monday – a blues and YOU STEPPED OUT OF A DREAM with a Sunny Rollins Solo put into words . And now I am curious. The jury comes in…

6:51 Introduction by the jury: “All of the candidates were just wonderful. And: the level is really improving – it gets better and better – so real congratulations to the singers.” I totally agree … Quincy says: “All these girls are a party, it’s about living and lerning – especially in Jazz. the last 65 years I worked in that field … and each one has a totally different situation: Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan and all of them… – so I am just proud to be here, you can be proud to be here.”

Public Price: goes to ELENA MINDRU!

3rd price: MARIE MARTIN

2nd price: ELENA MINDRU

1st price: SARAH LANCMAN

 

Well, Sarah stands there, packed witha head phone, vouchers of 2000 Euro product from SHURE, 5000 Euro and the chance of recording one week in the great BALIC studio in Switzerland. I did that and that’s just a fantastic thing. CONGRATULATIONS!

 

 

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