Live-Blog SEMI-FINAL: SHURE Montreux Jazz Voice Competition

After welcoming the jury, explaining the procedure, welcoming the band: Emil Spany on piano, Jean-Pierre Schaller on bass and Cyril Regemay on drums – we can start with the candidates. I am Sabine Kühlich – I won the contest in 2008 and now I am writing this BLOG for SHURE. I know how it feels to stand up there and sing – and I wish the audiance and the candidates INSPIRATION and BEAUTIFUL MUSIC!

1. Julia Bomann from Estonia starts singing NICAS DREAM. After singing one theme – honoring the original composition – she starts scat-singing with a nice natural phrasing, interesting and intelligent lines, Cyril at the drums comments here phrases – and Julia leaves a nice space for this. The music can breathe. The band ends with an nicely arranged rhythm in unison with Julia. Her second song EVERY NOW AND THEN is a beautiful ballad with beautiful cromatic lines. Julia loves this song – you can see this, she lives it on stage – already the first moment of goose bumps for me. Her clear, emotional, delicate voice carries a lot of jazz singing history. BEAUTIFUL! GOOD LUCK JULIA!

2. Myriam Bouk Moun chose also NICAS DREAM as the first song and sings the first chorus with nice variation in the interpretation of theme. In the slow Latin tempo she scats with changing between double time phrases and normal time. She uses her full range, excellent Microphone Technique, interesting choices of notes. She guides actively through the change from Latin to swing. Chromaticism, some bebop language, interesting timing, nice jazzy voice, good intonation – WOW! A song of Enrico Pieranunzi: NO MORE WORDS is her second song – her own choice. She added the words to that beautiful song in different languages: I hear English, French, Italian. It is a difficult composition, so beautiful, sang very well. And I know: It will be hard for the jury! EXCELLENT, MYRIAM!

3. Chloé Cailleton – FOUR – composition of Miles Davis, words by John Hendricks – an interesting arrangement changing between 3/4 and 4/4 and double time – WOW … my compliment to the BAND too! First scat chorus only with bass comping by Jean-Pierre Schaller – spontaneous applause from the audience she scats into a second chorus with her timing – very much to the point. A solo of the pianist follows and now she trades “eights” with Cyril at the drums. She has a nice way of swinging this bebop song – YEAH! Her second song is the Brazilian CHEGA DE SAUDADE sang in Portuguese. And she knows what she sings about! She uses some Brazilian rhythm-scat-syllables and very defined timing playing freely with the music. The audience claps loud and screams for her. That was a very lively and living performance – CONGRATULATIONS!

4. Rebecca Nicole Chubay comes up to the stage. It’s the thirds version of NICAS DREAM we hear today. And she gives it a new colour. She surprises after a little introvert but beautiful version of the theme with a fantastic scat solo. She runs through her whole range – very quick but lands always on the “right” notes, some bluesy variation of the theme and a nice ending. She announces her second song: SOPHISTICATED LADY with an almost childish attitude after this adult scat. It is a very difficult song – so hard to intonate it well – but that’s no problem for Rebecca at all. By the way – if you don’t know the version by Carmen McRae and Betty Carter singing in a Duet – buy the whole record – it’s fun! A nice piano solo by Emil Spany in a swing-feel follows, and … a red balloon rises up to the ceiling – a girl in the first row let it fly. Again Rebecca brings us back to the Jazz Club with her beautiful voice, interpreation and red dress. GO REBECCA GO!

5. Camilla Hedström from Sweden sings I GOT RHYTHM from George and Ira Gershwin. Her voice has a vibrato remembering us of the thirties – but she mixes it with modern embellishments from Pop, Soul, Blues. After singing the Verse she counts the band in with a tempo for a quick swing and – how she swings – ooooh! And so does the band!!! So we know now: She got rhythm .-) ! For the second half of the last chorus she goes back to her Soul-Voice and we get a vibe that reminds me of Sweet Georgia Browns concert last night. FOUR is her next song in a groovy version. Technically seen Camilla offers a lot – a lot of different sounds all somehow connected to Jazz or from styles which are influenced from jazz. She shows us different parts of her personality – contrasting to her blond hair and innocent way of dressing with a petticoat. GOOD LUCK CAMILLA!

6. Alita Moses sings SOFTLY AS IN A MORNING SUNRISE in an uptempo Latin Version. She has an elegant way of scat-singing, sound so easy when you hear her. She smiles when the pianist alters a chord. She sings through the fade out with a smile on her face, sings a good ending and gathers enthusiastic applause. She announces a „new found favorite of mine: THE VERY THOUGHT OF YOU“. She is a beauty on stage with a beautiful and very agile voice, light but also very personal. She shows her personality on stage – you can see her.

7. Liselotte Ostblom chose this stundard: Chick Coreas YOU’RE EV’RYTHING from the Album „Light as a feather“. The first A part she performs only with drums. I hear Rigmor Gustaffsons version – just a little bit – the beautiful arrangement of Brazilian touch with a strong Surdo beat on the 3 in the bar – Cyril must love his job at the drums! Her scat Solo is on a solo form – different then the original changes. This gives her freedom to play – she trades with the drums. Everything is playful and joyful – you totally get the vibe of these lyrics when you see Liselotte perform. „Stevie Wonder is my big inspiration: DON’T YOU WORRY ’BOUT A THING whith a little bit of soul, hip hop…“ she says. Harmonically the song is presented just like the original – but rhythmically the arrangement and singing offers a lot. FINE!

8. Laura Perrudin will sing two songs by Duke Ellington. SOLITUDE is in a real ballad tempo and after the first chorus sang quite originally in somehow quiet but very personal way – Laura starts to scat. Not the meaning of the words but the harmony of the composition guides her through her solo – well done! Her approach follows the famous instrumentalists – in the second half of her solo she leaves the ballad tempo singing into swing and even bebop-phrases. The interpretation of the last theme again is filled with “solitude”. DON’T GET AROUND MUCH ANYMORE is her second song. Thought her voice you just hear the pure music, in her scat singing she comments every note with her free hand. A nice interpretation of the last theme is followed by applause and a screaming audience.

9. Patrick Rouiller says “I am not a professional singer but a little bike mechanic – but when the night comes…” and he also sings DON’T GET AROUND MUCH ANYMORE. Wow – there is a talent on stage – he is nervous, yes, but has learned from the best. You hear Sinatra, Nat King Cole through him – he has a nice full voice – and somehow you have to like him. There is an honesty about his being and singing on stage which is touching. IT HAD TO BE YOU – he looks into the audience and you believe him. His natural timing is great, his phrasing is fine and his voice is beautiful. Yes, the other singers did a lot more homework and might have a lot more experience… but there are things you cannot learn and Patrick has a lot of this already.

The jury will now go to deliberate and in 30min they will announce the three finalists. This will not be easy – the candidates offer a lot and they are so different… I wish you all good luck!

Myriam Bouk Moun, Alita Moses and Laura Perrudin will be the three Finalists. CONGRATULATIONS! See you tomorrow for the next show!!!

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