The Orfeo Brass Band weaves magic with its music

As a musical genre, jazz is moving, varied and unexpected. This was very much in evidence at the Orfeo Brass Band’s concert at the Sheraton Park. Nicolas Baronnier and Adrien Ramon at the trumpet, Nicolas Casanova at the French horn, Hamid Medjebeur at the trombone and Eric Varion at the tuba, gave the audience a pleasant eclectic evening, playing a vast repertory of classical European music, from Carmen to Georges Gershwin and Nino Rota. The concert evoked and effortlessly bridged two diverse schools — jazz’s great swing era and the European classical music tradition; it was almost as if Louis Armstrong was crossed with Bizet or that Chet Baker was flirting with polka.

Thanks to the talent and the humour of the five French artistes, the persistent musical rhythm and the sing-song tone lent a light enthusiastic touch to the atmosphere, interrupted only by the own music of the audience, seduced into applause.

Yet, it couldn’t have been easy to win them over. Because of the fairly original choice of work, both connoisseurs and everyday jazz fans were apprehensive before the performance. But this sentiment visibly vanished after a few seconds, as the first notes of the music filled the air. Jazz, from its very beginning, has been a cry for liberty, a rebellious form of music that hates being confined within traditional structures. Conformism and cautiousness are definitely not words in jazz’s dictionary, and the rhythm of the French quintet is evidence of this aversion for musical fences.

With an eclectic repertory and innovation, the Orfeo Brass Band lived up to jazz’s demand for endless reinvention.