2016 Finals SHURE Montreux JAZZ Voice Competition

Three finalists were selected yesterday: from Italy, Latvia and Germany:

Fabio Giacalone, Arta Jekabsone and Erik Leuthäuser.

In the Jury are Jerome Badini, Joe Farmer, Thomas Rees, Mike Novogratz, Wendy Oxenhorn and the head of the jury is Angelique Kidjo.

5:10 Fabio Giacalone

ORANGE BLOSSOMS IN SUMMERTIME is a smooth Jazz Walz known by Kurt Elling. He sings the beautiful song with so many colors in his voice – from gentle to dark to shiny – everything is already in it. Good choice for a first song I would say. His solo gives space, good build up, short phrases, 16th licks going up, some triads in chromatic sequences. Yes, this guy did some homework! Going back to the theme he shows his popy voice, takes it high and low, falsetto – but everything tasteful.

FOUR is his second song, Fabio smiles and listens to the kicks of the band, gives a short solo and hands it over to Jerry on piano. Now he starts trading fourth with the drummer again together with Jerry o piano. A very joyful and unexpected ending leads the audience to feel

Betty Carters song: TIGHT starts and he gives us the color of Betty Carters voice to introduce the song to us. He is definitely having fun, is playing around, joyful, nice! It’s a concert, not a competition – that’s also how it feels behind the scenes. Fabio has an amazing range – using his voice until the soprano range with a very good intonation, sound and feeling. Yeah – thats jazz, I love it!

5:25 Arta Jekabsone

Altering between Latin feel and swing we hear again Miles Davis song FOUR. She sings a vocals, back stage she told me that she always practiced it with her violin to get it right. She sings it so naturally that you think it is invented in the moment, with such a good feel of swing – wow! After the vocalese she has a scat solo for us – following the stream of ideas, enjoying the situation, the song, the band, the music. This is so nice to look at and so good to listen to.

LET THE FEELING JUST FLOW: I FEEL YOU with an out of time introduction of the piano we get in the mood of the song. She counts in securely and starts a beautiful pop ballad. She sings what she feels and its touching. so many colors in her voice.

SUN – is her own composition based on letvian original poems about the sun – from the start in the morning until the sun goes to sleep. A bass riff in 5/4 set by Jerome gives happiness an – yes – sunshine. An interesting composition, unexpected harmonic progressions, good sense for rhythm makes this a very good piece. Again she scat sings in a straight feel with good syllables, good phrasing and articulation – yes here we really hear a talent. A talent, schooled and willing to go for learning learning, learning more more more … She is a beauty on stage, but in a very natural way, honest and playful – totally into the music, enjoying what the four of them are doing – lets call her Arta Sunshine Jakabsone. I have to say it again: Yeah – thats jazz, I love it!

5:40 Erik Leuthäuser

He builds up his loop machines – and starts singing. He builds up the tune in 3 voices, steps out of the comping part and becomes the lead Jazz singer. IN MY SOLITUDE you haunt me… well, I can describe this for you, but … the good thing: tomorrow you already will be able to watch it and listen. Here in the wordpress blog you’ll find the link to his performance. It’s definitely worth it. I will not describe, I am going to listen and enjoy now… and so should you!

He sings FOUR with German lyrics as a translated version of John Hendricks text. A solo transcription also got lyrics from him: Eddie Lockjaw Davis Solo as a vocalese in German. Its fun to listen to, this is art, joyful and honest. I am so happy to be here – again listening to such great talents. What an amazing opportunity to show your talent to the world – but also for the audience to discover these new artists.

CONCLUSION IN A TRAIN –  he always wanted to use 12tone technique, he said, he tried that and now we listen to the result. The music is beautiful, the band fills the melody with live, with harmony, chords, freedom, space. They are fantastic and lift this tune up. The four of them make the music happen. His voice is beautiful and free, he is young and dedicated, honest and full of music. I hate to say it again but: Yeah – thats jazz, I love it!

The Jury has to decide now. This is not easy. The three of them are fantastic musicians – and also big big talents with a great gift and willing to search for music and develop – WOW!!!

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