With a sound that is lucid and robust the Hamburg-based band celebrates jazz through its sheer versatility

Date: November 17

Venue: Corporation Kalaiarangam

Time: 7.30 p.m.

Tonally coloured, richly textured, and velvety smooth, Joscheba Schnetter’s voice plunges into uncharted territory every time she raises a jazz standard.

With roots in her school rock band and professional training at the Hamburg School of Music, Schnetter has the resources of a singer who can croon anything but chose jazz for its beauty. She twists and turns notes, embellishing them for a voice that is filigreed and fragile at one instant and powerful and soulful in the next.

Sharing this with the audience at The Hindu Friday Review November Fest, Schnetter (vocal and acoustic guitar) will be accompanied by some of Hamburg’s highly sought-after musicians — Buggy Braune (piano), Johannes Wennrich (guitar), Arnd Geise (bass) and Derek Scherzer (drums).

Braune who teaches at the Hamburg University of Music and Drama has recorded over 40 CDs and is one of the most distinguished pianists in the German jazz arena.

Wennrich is a popular studio and live guitar player, teaching and recording jazz, pop and classical music.

Geise has studied Big Band at the University of Cologne and at Buster Williams International School of Music. Scherzer has studied jazz drumming and since 1999 has been an integral part of the Hamburg music scene.

All of them have performed at prestigious festivals in Europe and across the world and bring to the stage their varied experiences. At the concert titled, ‘That Voice Inside’, the band will perform the love-lorn ‘Open Up’, the soulful ‘Memories’, the Afro-rhythmic ‘On The Move’ and the introspective ‘Who’s That Voice Inside My Head’.

Popular jazz standards such as the Latin-laced ‘Throw It Away’ and the classic ‘Windmills Of Your Mind’ also find a place in the 90-minute concert. Joscheba promises an evening of music that will be in a realm between reality and dreams.

That Voice Inside is brought to you by Unwind Centre and the Hamburg-Ministry of Culture.

Your voice is more suited for soul. How did you choose jazz instead?

I like soul, but jazz thrills me. It’s the interaction, the freedom to create and pursue roads less travelled. I always felt jazz would teach me everything, so I could go from here and sing whatever music I like. Jazz enables me.

Does jazz deserve a wider audience?

Yes. Not only because of the music but also because of the values it’s built on. Nowadays, bands are put together via casting or by how good they look together. In jazz, it’s not about the person in front. It’s about the whole band. It has to do with friendship, trust and fidelity. It’s about a music in search of a new sound.

Sometimes, you find wonderful, touching moments, sometimes you’re uninspired and tired. But you keep going.

The members of your band work/live in different places. How easy is it then to rehearse or work on original compositions?

Usually, I write the original compositions and compose on the guitar or piano. Next, I meet up with Buggy — we play the tune several times and discuss what kind of arrangement could fit in. Then, we meet as a band.

Everyone has their ideas and we rehearse and decide what serves the song best.

Having done both live and studio recordings what would you prefer?

Studio work is hard and exhausting. You sing a take and because of experience, you know you will sound better the next time. In February we recorded our new album. It will be released next spring.

I worked on vowels, phrasing, intonation and sound — after two months, I decided to record almost all vocal takes again. Being on stage is different.

You have an audience, and you get a reaction. When people listen, I sing my best.

What one jazz standard would be the soundtrack of your band?

That’s difficult!

We usually stick to standards with a dramatic story such as ‘Windmills Of Your Mind’. I’d choose ‘My Shadow and Me’.

Are there any favourite musicians?

A whole bunch. I appreciate Sting, I love the song writing and melodies of India Arie and the rhythm in the songs of Beyoncé. But, the ones I always come back to are Dianne Reeves and Rachel Ferrell. Their energy and intensity impress.

There’s the maturity of Shirley Horn, the agility of Nancy Wilson, the pureness of Billie Holiday and the softness of Cassandra Wilson.

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