It is a mind-boggling degree of ignorance the decision-makers of the Echo Awards seem to be blessed with. Giving one of the most prestigious German music awards to Kollegah & Farid Bang, while these deranged pseudo-artists are making fun and business out of mocking the victims of the Holocaust in their lyrics. Some people may want to raise the flag of artistic freedom, while ignoring the context we live in – when victims are vilified by malicious blather, freedom - artistic or not - comes to an end, one way or another.
In late April Jeff Cascaro will go on tour with his new program Love and Blues in the City: April 26th in Cologne, Erzengel Michaelkirche; April 27th Herford, Schiller; April 28th Greven, Kulturschmiede. He will be joined on stage by Christian von Kaphengst (b), Roberto Di Gioia (p) and Jörg Achim Keller (dr). Soul jazz connoisseurs will smack their lips at Cascaro´s congenial interpretations of songs like Ain´t no Love in the Heart of the City, Ode to Billy Joe, Inner City Blues and many more.
A couple of weeks ago, at the end of March, we had a meeting in our office, discussing the means, ends and possibilities of brand development. Routine in big business – a novelty for us. This morning, while shuffling my way to the bakery quite early, with eyes and mind open, taking a gaze to the right and there it was: a disfigured trademark. Quietly smiling to myself I was on my way, for sometimes and in a deeper sense it feels like there is music in everything. Up and down, loud or quiet, high or low. Music is not bad music just because it uses more or less notes.
Lily Dahab has come a long way. She has found a new home in Berlin, where she - together with pianist Bene Aperdannier - is creating her musical visions, reaching an ever broader audience. Now her new album will be released in May. Truly enchanting and mesmerizing music! Lily Dahab has put a vocal intensity into these recordings, that is likely to take your breath away: voices, loud and proud, whispering, breathing. Deeply existential music, equally concerned with the personal and the general.
Who ever did invent vinyl? It almost smells of the times of gunpowder and moonshine whiskey. And still it gets the true listeners all excited and dewy-eyed. You will find them at the record booth – not the CD-shop! - checking out and enthusing over 180gr. discs. And we are in the midst of providing the appreciators with some hot new fodder in the shape of a Nighthawks classic: Rio Bravo. Truly wonderful music, deserving to be remastered for and released as a vinyl LP. You may say it is a bit like the fruit vendors polishing their apples and pears to an even fresher shine.
When the daffodils are only just poking their heads through the snow, the confirmations for the summer festivals are dropping in. The Nighthawks, as well as some of our other bands, will be playing the Jazz-Rally Düsseldorf on May 19th. The Nighthawks will then rally on to the Elbjazz in Hamburg on June 1st. You will have the chance to see Jeff Cascaro on June 1st at the Hildener Jazztage, on the 22th of June in Essen at the Lange Jazznacht and at Lörrach´s Stimmenfestival on July 17th.
Let´s begin with last words of the evening: “Thank You Soul Town Kassel!” It was a low and heartfelt bow for Jeff Cascaro and his band at curtain call. On the one hand, because Markus Knierim, manager of Kassel´s Theaterstübchen, somehow manages to manage the impossible: hosting a Jazz festival lasting several days for ten years now. On the other hand, because the audience in Kassel is a truly appreciative and attentive one. People in Kassel still seem to know why there are ears on their heads. After a close listen communication begins, experiences are exchanged and emotions expressed.
One might assume, that a duo of just a piano and a set of drums won´t offer too much variety soundwise. Now take a listen to a couple of pieces by Frankfurt´s duo The Oh!chestra and be surprised. Through intelligent composition and unexpected entries of diverse timbres these two musicians manage to sound like a full orchestra at times, while maintaining the intimacy of a small group. In her animated video for “Land of Gold” comic artist Nacha Vollenweider has found a congenial approach to The Oh!chestra´s unique soundscape! Enjoy!!!
There it is: a piece of printed paper. And You are looking at it, side by side with the artist. It is an already signed contract, the beginning of a contractual relation, to put it profanely. But more so, and especially in the music business, it is a statement of trust and commitment. In this case, the signing of Lisa Bassenge, it also is a very personal pleasure that the next production of such an exceptional artist will be released on our label.
Some years ago, whilst being in Warner Music´s employ, two young dudes came into my office, giving me their plug about the Soulounge. While they were informative and easy going enough, it was the music that captivated me. Packing more than a few punches and executed with a simple straightforward idea: A steady, classy band presenting diverse singers within a show – the sound: Soul! Things went uphill quickly and the Soulounge became established all over the country.
“Jeff Cascaro sings since he can think … “. This PR statement marks the beginning of my liaison with Jeff Cascaro in 2005. And indeed this fabulous singer at the crossroads of jazz and soul has proven himself a master of sophisticated entertainment – as audiences at the Jazz Baltica, the Rheingau Musikfestival, or the Elbjazz, not to forget countless clubs all over Germany, had the pleasure to witness over the years.
It is not quite business as usual for the manager of a record label to be able to just plunk down in your chair, relax and listen to the organizers announcing: “Welcome to the concert with Les Brünettes, which has been sold out completely for weeks.” The Kulturetage in Oldenburg being a rather distinguished venue accommodating up to 500 seated guests. After the concert, which was rewarded with a thunderous applause, one could meet the four radiant young women a the CD stand, signing their latest release. Sometimes it is just that simple.
Every year, although different procedures, we are present in the south of Germany at the foot of the Black Forest, conducting our business at the Kulturbörse in Freiburg. This is a trade fair not just for music, but also comedy and magic - company that we are more than comfortable with, since our artists are working magic as well. And if you ever had the chance to experience Duncan Galloway, frontman of the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, telling jokes on stage, you know how close we feel to comedy as well.
Jeff Cascaro is living in Dortmund and last night he gave a remarkable performance, enchanting the audience at his home town jazz club, the Domicil – together with his fabulous band, consisting of Christian von Kaphengst (bass), Roberto Di Gioia (piano) and Hans Dekker (drums). A mesmerizing atmosphere spread across the full house, as the band alternately dives into gentle ballads, or bangs out heavy rhythmical stompers with equal intensity. In addition to his vocal artistry Jeff Cascaro shone on his trumpet. A truly wonderful evening, crowned and concluded by thunderous applause.
A frenetic audience at the sold out Kulturforum Kiel saw the Nighthawks invoking the spirit of electro jazz, as they were presenting their new album “707”. While some sceptics and critics may think of this fusion of jazz and rock as a thing of the past, the award-winning Nighthawks keep on proving them wrong, transporting it into the present with ease and style. It does take a truly vibrant collective of spirited musicians to turn a concert hall, as was to be experienced at the Kulturforum Kiel, into a bubbling cauldron.
Miu already has a loyal fan base. Our beloved soul pop singer was celebrated once again by a packed house in Hamburg´s cult club Knust. On Friday the 12th a delightfully diverse audience had gathered in the heart of St. Pauli. And once again songs like Watercoloured Borderlines, Ohana, Geneva, Next Big Thing and many more became hymns of a heart- and feet-stirring night. A voice that will keep on pricking up ears!
Happy New Year to You all! By some not too unfortunate accident we got locked in at our favourite wine cellar – hence our latish return from the Christmas holidays. And now it is time to pick up the pace, for the Nighthawks will start their tour of the northern regions on the 17th of January in Kiel. Jeff Cascaro will return to his home town Dortmund and play the exquisite Jazz Club Domicil on January the 18th. Check out more dates on our page.
Musicians have their quirks – on and off stage. Some enter soft-footed, some stride in. Dal Martino, The Nighthawks´ producer and bass player, tends to come shuffling to our yearly résumé. A little bleary-eyed, as if to further emphasize that night time truly is a Nighthawk´s time. Just as the name suggests and their sound proves.
In 1977 a song was first pressed on record, which to this day brings tears to the eyes of many, who have grown up in the GDR: “Am Fenster” (“At the Window”) by the East German band City. It became a tremendous success instantly, even crossing the borders to the West - perhaps the biggest “Ostrock”-hit of all.
For its 40th anniversary Jessica Gall has performed a heartfelt version of this beautiful ballad for MDR Kultur.