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All this sounds a bit unlikely: I went to see a gig of the Göttingen Jazz Festival at Musa tonight. While a priori there isn’t anything wrong about either of these, I still consider it unlikely that I’d go to either the festival or that venue. I’m not a jazz person and even less a ‘brass jazz’ one. Perhaps because it was almost the only music that my parents were fond of. Or – more likely, I’d say – because jazz points in the wrong direction.
When thinking about jazz, I imagine myself in a few years time coming home from work, sitting down in a heavy leather chair, having a glass of expensive red wine (not for the buzz of course but because of its subtle taste!) taking an ever so interesting and intellectually challenging historical book to read and listening, huh!, enjoying some good jazz music. I.e. the road to jazz is the road to middle-class and middle-age boredom. And I really shouldn’t think too much about it as I won’t even make it till that age because of the depression coming of those thoughts.
Next is the venue. It always seems to be a place that is oh-so-politically correct. And even properly correct. They do all the right things, they’re good people. They play South American music, they have non-smoking parties, they have parties for those who are gay or those who are over thirty. In short, everything they do looks like it’s meant to be a ‘good’ thing – and something I don’t care about and I’d assume to be boring.
So I was a bit reluctant to go there. But – Mardi Gras Bb were playing, a band I started liking a few years back when I bumped into their cool Hop Sing Song on some compilation CD and then quickly extended that like to the Hop Sing Song EP and the fantastic Zen Rodeo album. Great stuff! So I ended up being happy to go there.
When arriving I saw that the audience sort-of met my expectations. Lots of older and intellectual people hanging out there. And, for a change, me being in the youngest fifth of the audience rather than the oldest. After the local support band French Fonque Connection, which admittedly was quite enjoyable, had finished, Mardi Gras BB came on to play.
To start, just three of them who now released a separate record as The Mighty Three came on and then the other seven members of the band joined in. With the ‘BB’ in their name being short for ‘Brass Band’, six of them were brass players, one of them playing a giant sousaphone, two percussionists, a singer and guitar player and a DJ. I suppose that in addition to their style, the latter may be the reason why I never considered the band to be particularly jazzy. And the music they play surely does have a brassy sounds. But not in the usual annoying way but in a cool way. Add to that the modern effects and the ever so slightly distorted singing voice and you get a pretty cool package. Definitely music you should hear. And music that makes it easy to forget about my preconception about jazz and the venue.
A very cool gig! At the end the band came off-stage and played in the middle of the auditorium. They seemed to be quite happy with how it was going. And the audience was as well. You never thought brass-based music could be that good. Now go and listen to the songs I linked to above! Particularly those of you who are American citizens for whom this band may have been out of reach so far.
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