Welcome to the Final of the 13th SHURE Montreux Jazz Voice Competition 2015!

4:30 The room is already almost full – wow!!! I am locking forward to a great concert – of three great singers: Alina Engibaryan from Russia living in the Netherlands, Yumi Ito Japan/Poland born in Switzerland and Vuyo Sotashe South Africa currently living in NYC. I think we will have a lot of fun and deep moments! ENJOY!

5:00 The jury including Al Jarreau enters the room, everybody is excited. The “Petit Theatre” is packed, every seat is taken, people stand in every little corner to be able to listen to these fantastic musicians.

July 16th 2015- Petit Théâtre- Montreux Palace – the FINAL starts

  • 5:10  Alina Engibaryan

Alina takes a song that she loves since her childhood – MY GENTLEMAN FRIEND. A nice gentle swing song – absolutely convincing, fitting her personality. She is just 22 years old – but has a quite impressive biography, even more impressive: her skills in jazz improvisation, her adult sound, her natural appearance. YOU’RE EVRYTHING by Chick Corea starts out the way we know the song. But now – the band comes in and plays time – but in 7/4. And it feels so easy and natural. Wow she also scats in 7, such a difficult song and she just flies on her wings – so cute and sooooo gooooooood! MOODYS MOOD FOR LOVE – that’s just beautiful… an homage to all the artists singing the song following the path of James Moodys Saxophone Solo on In the mood for love. It’s so fantastic, so pure, again so good. I get shivers all over, goose bumps, tears of joy float into my eyes. This is really deep, she is taking over. Alina – you are overwhelming!

  • 5:25 Yumi Ito

FASCINATING RHYTHM gets us into her way of enjoying music. It’s nice, easy, swinging – and again an interesting arrangement with kicks kicking the rhythm into a groove of 7/4 – altering with just normal time in 4/4. She pick up her imaginary trumpet and starts playing. LET IT GO is an own composition of Yumi: let it go and just be who you are! Another interesting, darker colour comes into her voice, intimate and honest, souly, popy embellishments shape the character of the song as well as interesting harmonies following: „listen to you inner voice…“ she means what she sings, that’s for sure. Jerry Léonide opens up the universe of modern Jazz piano just in the background – very decent, the present and fantastic sounding bass fills the room, Zacharie Abraham is just so much to point, so warm, so defined, and Fred Bintner – oh – that’s CHEEK TO CHEEK she says. The interesting reharmonisation lets this song shine in a new light. Vocal percussion is added as well as folky elements and we hear that Yumi has a rich background – Polish, Japanese, Swiss. She studied around the whole wide world – with all the modern legendary Jazz Teachers you can imagine. And again here: it’s light, warm, young, frech, honest, playful, artistic mastery, contains jazz history … WOW! YUMI leaves us with a vocal percussion fade out and everybody is just SMILING 🙂

  • 5:40 Vuyo Sotashe

SOFTLY AS IN A MORNING SUNRISE – he sings the beautiful verse of the song, and it takes less then ten seconds and I believe half of the audience is smiling the other half is crying. He starts the refrain out with a bass line, dancing and singing the groove for the song – Zacharie on bass takes it over, they all start to fly. McCoy Tyner is the composer of this song and the lyrics are so powerful he says, he wants to dedicate this song to everbody who influenced him: YOU TOUGHT MY HEART TO SING. What a beautiful voice he has, what a humble human being he is. …and an incredible musician, improviser, arranger, interpret. A light head voice, some oohs set a gentle mood for his improvisation, he develops his lines, so calm, so clear, it’s astonishing. The jury members are relaxing in their chairs, smiling, shaking their heads like: WOW: MAGIC! This is a very funny Portuguese Song, SE É TARDE ME PERDOA saying “It’s late, I apologize” he counts in the band, is moving, everybody feels it. The song was introduced to the world of Jazz while Bossa Nova took over from Brasil to America. Joao Gilberto recorded the song on his album: O Amor, o Sorriso e a Flor in 1960. Only bass and drums do accompany him, Jerry on piano stands up and starts playing percussion on his piano. The groove is moving, and after the theme he takes off for a solo. He is just incredible. Such an artist, wow! What’s more to say than: THIS IS MAGIC!

So good luck to the three of you! You all deserve this chance being in the FINAL, you all can have a rich career, full of joy, full of music. I hope you will! The jury leaves the room. i see the candidates from the Semi-final sitting in the first rows and people start talking to them: how great they sounded yesterday, how beautiful they sang, giving congratulations of joy, complements and appreciation. So atmosphere is great here in the room. The band leaves for the soundcheck because they will be opening up the night in the Club with Alita Moses – the winner of 12th SHURE Montreux Jazz Voice Competition in 2014.

6:42 the Jury returns to the room. The audience choice:

Al Jarreau speaks to us: “Amazing, formidable, I am so happy to be here, my heart was lifted up,  … i am going to my room and cut my wrists… I don’t want to compete with any of you .. with such feeling and technical … I am amazed. So BRAVO BRAVA BRAVA!!! We choose some finalists yesterday … we all have feelings, we musicians made the feelings concrete. We gotta take care of each other… do you understand what I mean?” Al Jarreau speaks to us and I think he all makes us smile and cry at the same time too… What an amazing human being, it’s impressive… Well, I will listen back and transcribe for you what he said, he is soooo right!

The audience price goes to: Vuyo Sotashe

The 3rd price goes to YUMI ITO

The 2nd price goes to Vuyo Sotashe

The 1st price goes to Alina Engibaryan!

All the best to the three of you! Alina looks like she did not expect this, she falls into the arms of the two other singers, takes her tears away, she can’t believe it. A big “thank you” to  Stéphanie-Aloysia Moretti and Victoria Leon who work the whole year to make this such an amazing event! How WONDERFUL!

2 thoughts on “Welcome to the Final of the 13th SHURE Montreux Jazz Voice Competition 2015!

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