The Marteen Visser Trio showcased diverse influences, wandering from one style to another
In a 1970s’ ballroom atmosphere, the audience hopped on Marteen Visser Trio’s magic carpet, in Rhapsody, Courtyard by Marriott, for a musical journey across jazz dimensions.
Marteen Visser’s languid solo on the saxophone reminds a jazz amateur of John Coltrane’s prelude to Naima. The jazz man willingly gets interrupted by Jeoraz George, his drummer, who deconstructs the pace of the smooth blues. As the saxophonist slaps it, Keith Peters rocks it on the bass. The music bounces from one musician to another. The theme, like an undecided argument, is sequenced and dotted by electronic sounds of the guitar as if it were counting points in a video game.
An impromptu piece of free jazz bursts forth with standard thirds. A quotation from Sonny Rollins, and we move to a jolly piece that flies us to Central America. A man on the right of the stage can’t hold his hands back and claps along with the music. A moustached fellow on our left echoes him, making his stirrer a drum stick tapping his beer bottle. As a fourth member, he fits the experimental spirit of the band and is the most enthusiastic of the audience.
The Netherlands-born Marteen Visser has been in Chennai for eight years, and the two other members of his newly-born trio sometimes have a hard time with the leader. “I’m a dictator. I want them to sweat,” he says, exhausted after the two-hourshow. He learnt classical music for the technique, and flavoured it with various influences, which he composes and improvises with. As he puts it: “The group has to sound like a group but the music has to be diverse.”
The will of Alliance Française, which organised the event, is to put forward the variety in jazz through concerts that punctuate its cultural season. They showcase not just French bands but also international and Chennai-based groups such as this eclectic trio.
As the trio’s last harmonics stray around the room, the wave is broken by Bob Sinclar’s most famous hit. Even before the audience can applaud, the DJ moves to another kind of music to conclude the cocktail party — tinting the martini with a drop of grapefruit.CELINE LEMAIRE