Jazz serene and sparkling

THE WORD `modern' can leave one in doubt about the nature of the product, especially when it is associated with music. An unrecognisable array of gadgets producing bizarre sequence of sounds, is often the picture one visualises of modern music. The Florian Ross Sextett from Germany, didn't quite go this way. Their music was actually serene, something that immediately appeals to the heart, the same way any Jazz composition does.

Performing at the Music Academy auditorium for the Max Mueller Bhavan on October 25, the Sextett presented compositions by leader-cum-pianist Florian Ross. Largely adopting the harmonic approach, Ross showed variety and craftsmanship in his compositions. It wasn't hard hitting or heavy sounding, but the softer notes of every instrument on stage were freely exploited producing a series of sparkling sounds.

Similar to Jazz traditions, Florian had introduced many improvisations that perfectly suited the two tenor saxophones, a bass, a trumpet and a percussion besides his piano on the stage. Almost all of the eight compositions performed in the space of two hours began with high notes, a harmony that later descended into softer interpellations revolving two or three instruments at a time. The most familiar of all was the tenor saxophone playing in tandem with percussion.

The most interesting among all those sections of composition that clearly showed the composer's intentions of exploiting softer sounds, were the sections where the bass, the percussion and the piano played together.

Though it wasn't loud enough, the audience could hear even the faintest note that came from the bass, with the percussion and the piano softening the tones. Though not uncommon, this combination that appeared atleast four times displayed the softer range of sounds.

Listening to Jazz, however, isn't really breaking down each sound. It is a cheerful and a thoroughly relaxing experience irrespective of the tempo. The Florian Sextett was of course sounding buoyant and exciting at times, which was particularly felt in the sections where the trumpet joined with the saxophones and the percussion. A special mention has to be made of Jochen Ruckert, percussionist, who was exceptional in his role as an anchor. (He had the softest of sounds to play until the last piece). He held each section of the composition together in the most unassuming way. As a pianist, Florian Ross showed the dexterity that has made him an exciting Jazz performer.

His fingers were nimble at times, showing the subtle variations in tempo and like his compositions, his piano performance had Western classical influences clearly distinguishable from the faster notes in Jazz. The last piece had an elaborate piano section in which Ross produced an array of sounds that were Jazzy with the classical touch. In short the performance by Florian Sextett clearly met the requirements of Jazz.


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