Winner 2016 SHURE Montreux JAZZ Voice Competition

Audience Price: Erik Leuthäuser

Special new Price called: THE JURY PRICE for Cristina Tanase

3rd Price: Fabio Giacalone

2nd Price: Erik Leuthäuser

1st Price: Arta Jekabsone

CONGRATULATIONS to you three wonderful human beings! …right now performing Straith no chaser to say Goodbye to the Audience. It has been two amazing nights and all three musicians are definitely winners. Like Angelique Kidjo says: now your responsibility starts to get better and better and better and make your audience cry!!!

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!!!

2016 Semi-Final SHURE Montreux Jazz Voice Competition

5:00 The jury is presented to the audience – of course Ladies first: the head of the jury is Angelique Kidjo and the other 5 jury members:

The musicians enter the stage and the first singer starts.

Three fine musicians support the singers: Jerry Léonide (Mauritius/France) on piano – he won the piano Solo competition in 2013, from Paris the incredible Zacharie Abraham on Bass and the fine tasteful drumming comes from Fred Bintner (Paris) living in Switzerland.

5:10 Camille Barbillon

starts singing the famous song FOUR composed by Miles Davis. Her scat singing is lively, somehow “french” – charming like “Amélie“, definitely inspired by trumpet and with nice unexpected rhythmical accents. Her second song: SOLEIL D’HIVER gives the piano player Jerry Léonide the chance to show us the beauty of jazz harmony in his comping. Beautiful fresh singing, Camille loves this music and thats what she shares with us. Big applause for Camille Barbillon!

5:20 Adelheid Erler

BEBOP LIVES is Adelheids first song – and with her fascinating high clear Jazz voice she celebrates the jazz language Bebop. In the theme she adds some pop embellishments, the drummer Fred Bintner catches every kick of her and brings a gentle end to this kicking song. THE MIDNIGHT SUN is a beautiful jazz ballad – in her version reharmonized in a way that Jazz lovers melt away – especially when it is played the way Jerry on Piano does. Adelheid adds some chromaticism and some pop embellishments. Now the song starts swinging and she scat sings joyful using her voice as an instrument. Coming back to the theme of the song and the beautiful ballad ends. There are defiantly some Austrian friends in the audience cheering up for Adelheid Erler.

5:30 Indre Gasiune

NICAS DREAM is Indres choice out of the mentioned pieces to be sung. She introduces this Horace Silver song with the Brazilian flavor and lightness. Her own choice GOODBYE PORK PIE HAT by Charlie Mingus with lyrics from Jony Mitchel is an all time jazz musicians favorite – talking about racial discrimination in “those days” but also of this big dream of Black and White together. The whole song including the vocalese on a solo of the alto saxophonist John Handy from 1959 got lyrics by Joni Mitchel. Not just the Mingus song is a dedication to Lester Young, Jony also invented a club named “Pork Pie Hat Bar” – an homage to the the incredible Lester Young always wearing this kind of hat. From Vilnius, Lithuania via Paris where Indre lives now – she transports real jazz feel to this Montreux Jazz Competition.

5:40 Fabio Giacalone

STOLEN MOMENTS is Fabios starter. He has a beautiful free sounding voice with well developed low and high register, falsetto, nothing forced. He takes a scat solo, starts it off with short phrases but quickly introducing tension notes. And he goes outside – plays little jazz musicians games – thats great! In a very nice way he leads the band to follow him either to be active and loud or sensitive and quiet. It is very nice to listen to and see him guide “his” musicians. He interprets NICAS DREAM and now adds a quick samba scat – yes, he knows what “phrasing” and “timiming” means in this music inspired from the Southern American culture. A very fine sensitive drum solo from Fred Bintner supports his style of interpretation. If you can talk about SWING in Brazilian Music – Fabio has it! GOOD LUCK; FABIO!

5:50 Arta Jekabsone

“Tonight I will tell you the meaning of love – YOU’RE EV’RYTHING”! This is how Arta introduces the song to the surprised and smiling audience. The song starts with an introduction played by Zacharie Abraham on Bass setting the Brazilian feel. The two of them play the first A-part of the song. This is may be the most difficult song from the repertory the candidates choose from. Arta is just 21 years old, very natural on stage, tells her story within the song she sings and she also scats like telling a story. The second song sounds brand new. Her voice is influenced from todays music, she uses “Millennium embellishments”, distortions of the voice, just a little dash of Belting, very tasteful and beautiful. She is fully aware of all harmonic changes, prepares them in an active way – so without it being too obvious or – she is a musician.

6:30 Esra Kayikci

Ezra introduces the song: “NICAS DREAM – its about Peace and Love, this is what the world needs, also especially my home country Turkey.” A very interesting book about the Jazz Baroness written by a family member Hannah Rothschild tells the interesting story of this unusual woman who flew airplanes in the 40ies and escaped the live of a rich housewife to become a big supporter of the New York Jazz Scene. An Anatolian Poet inspired her second song. The drummer gives a heart beat of this song, the tradition of Turkish singing with quarter tones and beautiful melodic lines is alive in Montreux through Esra. The arrangement gets a nice jazz touch with an added quick line played in unison. She is one with the music and the audience likes a lot what Esra is doing.

6:40 Erik Leuthäuser

LITTLE WILLY LEAPS is a old Bebop Song – Erik gave it some German lyrics. Now its a song about a little boy who jumps. Jumps high and sings Jazz. He scats Jazz. WOW! The first time the audience is really excited. SOFTLY AS IN A MORNING SUNRISE he starts of singing phrases into his loop station. It adds up to a song. In a very tasteful way he uses this modern instrument, fades voices in and out as he sings. There is nothing artificial – it’s all organic and beautiful. We see a nice and humble human being on stage – totally dedicated to Jazz music – in a very hip way. After the first A sections – with different spheric backgrounds he sang before into the machine – it fades into the B-part as “normal” Vocal Jazz with a coming Trio. And he does this very well as well.  Unexpected and very gently they change tempo into a more heavier swing. Now we hear nice, adventurous scat singing, beautiful and honest, it’s bebop tradition at it’s best. After Solos the theme comes again in this quicker tempo and goes out of time after the B-Part. Without a second of doubt his loop machine enters back to bring us back to the first mood he had set for this song. This is such a little master piece of how one can mix loop station with real good jazz singing making it more interesting. Congratulations, Erik! Obviously the audience loves you – good luck!

6:50 Anna Lukshina

She put ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE in a new dress: Some chords are changed and she leads the band through the song – of course the musicians follow at ease. Some surprises put into this very old song makes the audience listen with new ears. She swings the song to the end. FASCINATING RHYTHM by George Gershwin: another arrangement of hers: She starts it out a cappella before the bass gives the root for the Verse of the song. She also really performs the song with the flavor of Musical Theatre. There is an pushing moment of a famous rock bass line she also put in the song. That makes us smile and enjoy her performance.

7:00 Soyoung Park

DON’T GO AROUND MUCH ANYMORE starts off with floating harmonies – definitely not the traditional version. She plays a chromatic game to enter the second A part. Interesting kicks for the band makes this an outstanding arrangement – fun to listen to. FOR ALL WE KNOW is a very sad song in my eyes and Soyoung interprets it in a very soft way, honest and humble – almost “naked” dedicated to the Jazz language. Her voice is clear and she shows good taste. Soyoungleaves the stage with the shyness of a girl from South Korea – what an interesting mixture!

7:00 Cristina Tanase

DON’T GO AROUND MUCH ANYMORE starts with a good powerful voice and a good feeling of powerful swing. That grabs the immediate attention of the audience. The musicians follow her drive and this song is alive! Her second song is taken from the Romanian tradition. The lyrics are written by Maria Tanase. Again we get the flavor of a totally different tradition of music mixed with Jazz. That’s what I really like about the European approach of young musicians. We mix our homeland tradition with the American Jazz culture and something new happens. Something much more connected to Europe than “just” singing The Great American Songbook and it looks like this is a success as well. Her interesting use of the voice with flips and quarter tones give a special taste to this song. The band supports with all the history of jazz. Go for it, Cristina! Big applause.

JURY DECISION: Angelique Kidjo

ALL OF THEM WERE REALLY GOOD!  only three can go to the finals and you give us a headache to choose – but these three are going to the Finals:

Fabio Giacalone, Arta Jekabsone and Erik Leuthäuser

And evrytime you gonna touch a song – make it yours!



Ready, steady, go!

20 min left, the musicians are prepared, singers warm up, the audience enters the room, running to get the best seats. Ready, steady……go!

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.

Continue reading

Welcome to the Semi-final of the Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition 2015

3:30 The audience arrives, people take seats in the front, the singers are prepared and soon the show will start. Ten candidates will perform in the next hours. The jury will take a decision about who will be the three finalists. I am excited. And I am not the only one…

4:00 Almost every seat is taken, we wait for the jury to arrive. Who is the JURY?

Al Jarreau is this years head of the Jury, Carine Zuber (Artistic Director of The Mood’s), Joe A. Turano (Musical Director, Al Jarreau, Club 16.7), Joe Farmer (Journalist RF!), Wendy Oxenhorn (President of the Jazz Foundation of America)

How to judge this? … Interpretation, Personality, Improvisation, Interplay, …

July 15th 2015- Petit Théâtre- Montreux Palace

Three fine musicians support the singers: Jerry Léonide (Mauritius/France) on piano – he won the piano Solo competition in 2013, from Paris the incredible Zacharie Abraham on Bass and the fine tasteful drumming comes from Fred Bintner (Paris) living in Switzerland.

  • 4 :10 – 4 :20 Alyssa Allgood

Alyssa enters the room, greets the audience in French and starts with FOUR written by Miles Davis. After the theme she is scatting with good build up and finishes with the theme.Tedd Damerons song: LADY BIRD is her 2nd song, her own choice. She has a beautiful timbre, nice round head voice, good impro skills. The arrangement is nice, the band plays it beau Al Jarreau asks: Where these your lyrics to FOUR? No, Alyssa replies: Anita O’day sang these lyrics to FOUR. A nice Jazz performance: good luck, Alyssa!

  • 4 :20 – 4 :30  Sabrina Cheref (aka Sans Elle)

Sabrina Cheref starts out with Jimmy van Heusens POLKA DOTS AND MOONBEAMS. She loves the song, you can clearly see and hear this. She brings some popy embellishments to the song, her vibrato and style fo singing is modern – the band is comping very sophisticated. Her choice from the list is Boplicity written by Miles Davis. She takes a chorus for a scat, interesting notes, big range, followed by a beautiful piano solo. She takes the song out, says goodbye. All the best to you, Sabrina!

  • 4 :30 – 4 :40 Laura David

Laura Dausse starts with INVITATION composed by Bronislau Kaper switching from Latin in the A-part to swing in the B-part of the song. She is living the song on stage. Her voice brings some souly colours, but her phrasing is coming from the jazz world. Her 2nd song is the choice from the List: Cole Porters I GET A KICK OUT OF YOU. She swings nice and easy, the arrangement is interesting and gives some unexpected kicks. Her scat goes into an interaction 4 bars each with the terrific piano player Jerry Léonide. Starting with the B-part and swinging it to a surprising, very good and effective ending. Take your applause Laura!

  • 4 :40 – 4 :50 Alina Engibaryan

Alina starts with BEBOP LIVES in a great arrangement suggesting 3 against 4. Her scat is sophisticated, nice back phrasing, yeah, tension notes, the first time I hear an altered altered scale from the singers tonight – I hear real jazz and yes, I get goosebumps. FOR ALL WE KNOW: Her voice is touching, there is something unpretentious but honest and real. She takes the ballad, opens her scat with a nice phrase in double time feel, lets it rest and sink in, takes on. Interesting to listen to her, beautiful… The 2nd A-part goes to Jerry on the piano for soloing. And by now everybody forgot the we are in a competition. It’s just fantastic music played by four great musicians. She takes the song out with some variations in the melody – all very tasteful and the audience is cheering up for her. Go, Alina go!!!

  • 4 :50 – 5 :00 Yumi Ito

Yumi opens up with freely going into a unison line together with the bass in a Samba feel. This vamp leads into SOFTLY AS IN A MORNING SUNRISE. This song is a good old American Songbook Standard, written by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II in 1928 for an operetta. All is very joyful, lively, the band is smiling. There is interplay, everybody opens up the ears to catch everything that happens. That’s Jazz! She starts the song with a free intro, cueing the band into a nice arrangement of THE NEARNESS OF YOU. Yumi is totally into the music, starts now to scat sing and her sound becomes more a trumpet than a scat. Nice, interesting guidelines for instance using #11 upwards, jazzy lines, some unexpected chords in her beautiful arrangement of the song. And everything sounds as if it was „so“ easy. Ending with an nice free phrase – high and low, very good in tune on the major7. Congratulations, Yumi!

5 :00 – 5 :30 Break

  • 5 :30 – 5 :40 Vebjørn Mamen

Vebjørns “Bonjour” introduces his first song entitled FOUR or QUATRE like he says… In the first bars we can see that he is nervous. But already in bar 5 his beautiful sound and nice jazz phrasing takes over and leads us to the world of Jazz clubs, the young Marc Murphy, James Moody and John Hendricks. YOU’VE CHANGED. He loves Jazz, he loves singing. He plays with a lot of contrasts, a lot of colours in his voice. It’s all somehow „young“, also the shyness of Chet Baker is in his voice and behavior, his Microphone Technique needs an upgrade… but all is very promising, I like what he is doing. Go for it, Vebjørn!

  • 5 :40 – 5 :50 Rebecca Mason

Rebecca starts out with SOFTLY AS IN A MORNING SUNRISE. A ends with the interlude of A night in Tunesia thats citing some jazz history and use it in a very effective and cute way. She comes from New Zealand – wow that’s a long long way. LUSH LIFE – may be “the” jazz ballad written by the 18 year old Billy Strayhorn as application for the job as a writer for the Ellington Orchestra. By the way: I love the sound of the bassist, what a sensitive and reliable Zacharie Abraham from Paris. Some sound from the 50ies are in Rebeccas voice, the way she treats the vibrato. The audience is heavily applauding for Rebecca, nice!

  • 5 :50 – 6 :00 Cinnamon Denise Murray

Cinnemon gives a nice speech at the beginning, she also looks very hip. SO WHAT! Miles Davis’ Song lets her take over the whole stage, moving from one side to the other in a very organic way. She sings the famous Miles Davis Solos with John Hendrix Lyrics, does some scat singing, leads the band from soft to loud. There is something really appealing about her. She also lets us see the change to the next “mode” in the modal song. Good. I WANT YOU from Erykah Badu lets us hear her performing strengths. Her voice and range is impressive, yes, with some short movements she gets the audience to clap for her. Playing with groove and softness – she is a musical talent, a performing talent, more she is a performer! She is a singer guiding the band, also leading us into an atmosphere of ease. You gave something special to us, thank you, Cinnemon!

  • 6 :00 – 6 :10 Chiara Pancaldi

Chiara starts with YOU’RE EV’RYTHING from Chick Coreas Album with Flora Purim “Light as a feather”. She sings a special – a written Solo and brings a scat to this complicated but beautiful song. She incorporated also a little bit of the original vamp from Chick Corea. Hoagy Carmichaels SKYLARK from 1941 is her second song. She wears a very classy dress, absolutely fitting into this Petit Theatre here in the Montreux Palace. She gives a nice interpretation of this song, hands over to Jerry Léonide on Piano he plays a short deep solo. The band is supporting the singers in a fantastic way. Well done, Chiara!

  • 6 :10 – 6 :20 Vuyo Sotashe

Vuyo comes in, the audience already greets him. Her starts singing, some notes and it’s MAGIC. Beautiful voice, big smile, great timing. Oh my god I get so emotional when I listen to good music, so my tears start falling down… A little bit of Nat King Cole is in his voice – but also I see the young Al Jarreau in him. He is dancing on stage, enjoying the music, leading the band just naturally. He starts is second song with sounds and lines generated in South Africa – bringing an original atmosphere to us. Lionel Louekes arrangement of Skylark sounding so easy and groovy – but it is in 7. He takes the improvisation so nice and easy. He makes us feel good. So much into the Jazz music, and just so that I wish he would go on for another 2 hours just singing his heart out. Hope to see and hear you a thousand more times, Vuyo!

6 :20 – 6 :50 Jury’s deliberation and announce of the finalists

Welcome back, passed the Mic to Al Jarreau. Just a few comments: “We were listening to Winners. All Winners. We have coming to this thing of competition … who is the strongest… no, if you are involved in the world and you are doing it, you are the winner … the heart and the curage it what it takes. If you wanna do it for free – then welcome on board! Music has been the spoiled child. Poets, Sculptures, Writers … they don’t get that – but doing music makes people smile, its happiness, that healing, thats good work and w are doing it. i am inspired by what I hear, I wanna go sing now… wonderful singing…

I am going to announce the finalists now in no particular order: Yumi Ito, Vuyo Satashe, Alina Engibaryan! 

CONGRATULATIONS! See you tomorrow at 5 o’clock in the FINALs!

Live-Blog FINAL: 12th SHURE Montreux Jazz Voice Competition

It’s 4 o’clock, the jury comes in, all seats are taken and so we can start.

Myriam Bouk Moun will be the first lady to sing a song. She starts with GROOVIN’ HIGH – with new lyrics written by herself. A joyful almost childish intro guides us into the song. She swings it in a light, elegant way. Her scat follows the changes, interesting, very musical. Now an OWN COMPOSITION, she gives us the message about love and we believe her singing: „I could fly, life was filled with joy, I felt save, but…“. The band bringst he meaning into music – this is not a competition anymore, this is a faboulus concert! “YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT LOVE IS” in an explosive interpretation – influenced by pop, soul, world music but most of all – full of Myriams emotions. Her scat also is full of emotions paired with jazz phrasing, interesting harmonic choices, again some popy embellishments. And everything sang in full range between loud and soft, high and low, soul and jazz, even classical timbre, some belting, some breathy notes, some screaming … tasteful … wow: here is an artist on stage – and again: that’s not a competition, it’s a concert!

Alita Moses starts with some words in French to the audience. FOUR is her first song. Her pleasant voice, good timing, easy phrasing and her smile make it a joy to look at and listen to her. The ballad – one of her favourite songs sang by Alita makes us totally understand her wish: “oh how I need SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME”. The longing is in her face while she sings – following mostly the original melody with some modern embellishments, perfect intonation, good sound, very personal touch. A French tune – a song by “Magda Giannikou: AMOUR T’ES LÁ? Just lately recorded with Snarky Puppy so clap your hands”. The band puts us into Latin atmosphere – the audience is enthusiastic about the lively performance. Again: WOW!

Laura Perrudin starts out with the Verse from I GET A KICK OUT OF YOU. And here we get the kick of authentic, classical Club Jazz. Though there is a special sadness or blue innocence about Laura. And her next song from Mel Thorme is somehow illustrating what I just thought: BORN TO BE BLUE. With a fine scat, again very good intonation, makes us dream and look at this girl singing with her eyes closed.

Wayne Shorter – probably the most important composer in my life – with words by Gretchen Parlato JUJU. A long intro with elements of world music, melodically interesting, soundwise interesting, good built up following th original chord structure of the song guides us into the lyrics. WHAT A JOURNEY!!!


We just had a little intermission – I sang two songs of mine: DELICIOUS AND LOVELY and FUKUMATSU – plus a CIRCLE SONG with all the FINALISTs together plus Liselotte Ostblom  … just improvised together.


All three finalists get 2000 Euro worth SHURE products free to choose. Miss Sweet Georgia Brown wants to say some words: “what a honor and pleasure to be here. And to the ladies: there are no loosers, you are all winners. Love what you do and do what you love!”





This was again a wonderful experience, all the best to you nine girls singing here! Loads of love from Sabine Kuehlich

more info and contact: 🙂




AND THE FINALISTS ARE: Myriam Bouk Moun, Alita Moses and Laura Perrudin. CONGRATULATIONS! See you tomorrow for the show at FOUR!!!

Live-Blog first day SEMI-FINAL: SHURE Montreux Jazz Voice Competition – July 11th 2014

Ready to start the 12th voice competition: There are 9 participants in the Semi Final, everybody performs 2 pieces – one choice out of 10 famous Jazz Standards, one personal choice. There were 100 people applying to play here, 10 were chosen from a jury. Everybody has 10 minutes to perform with an extraordinary Band: Emil Spany on piano, Jean-Pierre Schaller on bass and Cyril Regemay on drums. The judges will meet after these 9 performances to choose the three participants for the FINAL tomorrow. This competition offers three very attractive prices and a public price … so surely everybody wants to make it into the Final.

Head of the Jury is Sweet Georgia Brown – she performed yesterday night at the Montreux Jazzclub. What a band, Sweet Georgia surely has the Rhyhm in her body … that was a hot thing yesterday!!! All infos about the jury and Biographies of the Singers you find here, also what you can win:

So you young and promicing musicians: HAVE FUN and ENJOY THE MUSIC!!!!

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!