Friday, 27 March 2015

On Stage: Zimbolico

For over fifty years the Brazilian Zimbo Trio have recorded uncountable songs on over fifty albums. Their music may not be known by a large group over here, but they are a well established and widely respected name when it comes to Brazilian music. When Jens Lima dos Santos got introduced to their music he was so impressed that he started transcribing some of their songs. He found two fellow musicians, bassist Carlos Monteiro and drummer Joeri Baldinger, to play these songs and together they founded Zimbolico. Now there's a CD, A Tribute to the Zimbo Trio, which was presented with a show in Amsterdam

Zimbolico at Bethaniënklooster Amsterdam, March 22 2015

The Bethaniënklooster is a former 15th-century monastery right in the heart of the red-light district of Amsterdam. The small but very nice "Bethany's Jazz Club" is a great place for some exotic jazz on this sunny Sunday afternoon. It has filled up nicely when the three musicians take the stage. Pianist Lima dos Santos looks quite nervous but it doesn't take long before the trio is fully warmed up. Well focused he's playing the fast piano parts, that sound vivid and sparkling. Backed up by his two experienced fellow band members he can lean comfortably on their solid foundation.

Both Monteiro and Baldinger get enough room to excel on their own, which results in some fine moments with solos of a high musical level. But more importantly, together the trio make the songs sound very cheerful and groovy, full of dynamics and very danceable. 'Upa Neguinho' is a sunny and uplifting song where all three sing along with the playful melody line. Many songs are not originally by the Zimbo Trio but are Brazilian standards, like the world famous 'Garôta de Ipanema' ('Girl from Ipanema'). 'Aquarela do Brasil' is one those other famous songs which showcases the best Brasil has to offer. Zimbolico make it sound very updated and full of fire.

By that time some people can't resist the seductive latin sounds any more and start a little dance. Judging from the smiles on their faces, the band itself is having a good time as well. At the end of the show they are not allowed to leave before they play another song, so the band ends in style with an explosive version of 'Incompatibilidade de Gênios' where Baldinger makes his drum kit sound like a full on samba band. It's the perfect ending to a very convincing CD presentation. If you think that jazz is boring complicated show off music, then listen to Zimbolico and be proven wrong.

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01. Noa Noa
02. Cidade Vazia
03. Chovendo na Roseira
04. Cravo e Canela
05. Canção do Sal
06. Garôta de Ipanema
07. Upa Neguinho
08. A Felicidade
09. Travessia
10. Vou te contar
11. Aquarela do Brasil
12. Incompatibilidade de Gênios

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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

New Sounds: Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress

I don't know what to think of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Many people think the music of the Canadian postrock band is simply brilliant. Maybe I'm just not patient enough myself to let the longs songs truly settle themselves inside my head. They have a new album coming up so I'm gonna give it another try. You can listen to Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress below. What do you think?

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Monday, 23 March 2015

On Stage: Sleater-Kinney

As part of the Riot grrrl movement in the nineties, Sleater-Kinney were quite successful and had a devoted group of followers when they went on an indefinite hiatus in 2005. In 2014 the three got back together again and released a new album No Cities To Love. In support of that album they are now touring Europe and are also visiting my town. I am not really familiar with their music, but since this gig is another Indiestad concert I decided to go check them out.

Sleater-Kinney at Paradiso Amsterdam, March 19 2015

By the time the all ladies band disbanded, the Riot grrrl movement had already died down. But during their hiatus the musical landscape has changed a lot as well. Still it seems like the right timing for the band to reform, although indie rock is more popular than ever, more and more indie bands are rebelling against the way it commercialised. Sleater-Kinney have the right combination of punk attitude and politics to appeal to many new fans, including new female fans who can relate to their feminist stand-points. This is obvious tonight where aging fourty year olds and youngsters are watching side by side, with many femal fans in front of the stage.

The threesome, expanded to a foursome live on stage, play a tight set, showing they can still be meaningful even today. Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein are taking turns on vocals the first half of the set which works really well. Tucker's high shrill voice defines their sound, but also doesn't appeal to everyone and can be a bit too much when listening to her singing a few songs in a row, like in the second half of the set. Of course this is a matter of taste and most of the people here tonight are enjoying it a lot. Brownstein impresses with her guitar skills and is playing great riffs and solos. Together with Tucker they are compensating the absence of a bass player in a clever way. Drummer Janet Weiss is keeping it all together with straightforward but spot on grooves. Additional touring member Katie Harkin adds an extra layer of guitar and keys. She's somewhat in the background, but gives the music more depth.

It is clear the band is enjoying their comeback, since they are exchanging smiles throughout the show. In 'Gimme Love' Tucker is putting aside her guitar and like an experienced crooner she's playing the crowd before she drops to the ground like a real drama queen. Their setlist is built around the new album, but they don't forget about their legacy and play 'Jumper' as the last song before they return with an encore. Music-wise Sleater-Kinney prove this is certainly a succesful comeback. Hopefully people can also still relate to their feminist message.

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