Jazz has a problem. An age problem. I go to many Jazz concerts, and unfortunately, the typical spectator at such a concert is male, middle-aged at least, and grey haired.
I guess the times of Jazz being the music of the cool kids is over since the 1960’s, and overall this genre has been niched too much as intellectual, and has very little presence in the mainstream media and the public mind. Women and younger people are often clear minorities at this kind of concert.
Therefore I was very happy to see that I was able to attend a Jazz concert where not only the musicians where all in their early thirties, but the average age of the audience must have been not more than 25! Also both genders were pretty much equally represented. A very refreshing sight.
So who was able to pull these younger crowds into Moods, the best Jazz club in Zurich?
GoGo Penguin Live At Moods
Well, obviously we’re talking about GoGo Penguin. I’ve already praised their recent release Man Made Object previously, and was very happy to have such a musically rewarding weekend after seeing Michael Wollny’s trio just the day before.
So, how did it go?
Well, first of all, I was impressed. The trio sound of GoGo Penguin is very much influenced by Electronica, so I imagined a fair share of Logic Pro or Ableton computer wizardry going on on the album.
Well, I obviously was mistaken. While they had their sound engineer with them, and I saw a Macbook connected to the mixing console, the ludicrous speed you here on their albums is nothing but exactly the same what they are pulling off live!
Bassist Nick Blacka pictured above was just impressive. Although I was sitting in the first row, I could sometimes barely follow his fingers, they were that fast. And he made generous use of the bow, which is always a nice change.
Chris Illingworth on piano sounded at times like a reborn Esbjörn Svensson, but this is probably one of the best compliments you can make to any Jazz pianist.
The real hero of the evening however was Rob Turner on drums.
The way he kept the beats of amazing syncopating complexity and even crazier speeds was just breathtaking. His pulsating bass drum was of drum machine precision, and was one of the key factors why this evening was so absorbing musically.
Obviously, this is not very traditional Jazz. There was some improvisation, but the music lived much more of the groove and in many moments sounded way more like Drum-and-Bass than Dave Brubeck.
But this is really what we need. Miles Davis famously said “It’s not about standing still and becoming safe. If anybody wants to keep creating they have to be about change.”
EST really gets the credit for having started to modernize the Jazz trio. But here we truly have a worthy successor!
This is the kind of change I’d love to see more of!
Check out their concert schedule and if they come anywhere near you, you just have to go!
P.S. To close, some impressions of the Schiffbau buildin, where Moods is located, a former ship yard and industrial site, beautifully converted into a complex for theater, dining, and Jazz. Worth checking out if you’re ever in Zurich
All pictures (c) Musicophilesblog 2016