Monday, November 08, 2010

klazz brothers & cuba percussion

It's the wee hours of Monday morning, I've just had a glass of warm milk and I'm still not in bed sleeping!

So I'm doing what I think should help me get back to bed - switch on the PC and hope my eyes would tire themselves after awhile.

I've been wanting to share some nice jazz pieces that I discovered while at a recent MPO outing. Klazz Brothers & Cuba Percussion is the highly acclaimed quintet who's brought much pizazz to jazz by infusing classical pieces with Caribbean beats. Their improvisation of beloved symphonies rejuvenates and gives new life to Beethoven and Bach.

I love how the original piece can still be heard amidst all the syncopation, whistles and hypnotic rhythms of Cuba. Take for example Mozart's Symphony No.40 :

Our original intention was to go for the "Jazz meets Cuba" show, but accidentally went for the "Classic meets Cuba" which was a day earlier. It was our first time sitting in the front row, mainly because we wanted to see the expressions on the face of the performers!

After all, if we were too tired from straining our necks looking up, we could always close our eyes and enjoy the music from where we were.

Boy, were we wrong; it turned out to be such an enjoyable 2-parter that I couldn't take my eyes off the musicians as they took turns to highlight the various instruments that created this unique fusion.

Kilian Forster the bassist who looked a bit like a mad professor with his disheveled hair kept the flow going from one piece to another with his humorous introductions.

You have to be there to hear his German accent when telling how Mozart went to the Caribbean, fell in love with Latin jazz and decided to compose the Mambozart. Or how the Hungarian Dance No. 5 came to be known as the Cuban Dance because it was rightfully so!

Those in the audience would agree with me that Alexis Herrera Estevez must be given credit for standing in for the drummer who unfortunately fell ill. We wouldn't have known otherwise that he had to double up in addition to his original role as the percussionist; the transition was so seamless.

Towards the end during the encore, they invited people to come up to the stage to dance. An almost Latino (must be the music!) looking young man promptly went to the front and coolly did his salsa moves, much to the audience's delight.

Many were standing up clapping along, so much so that even 2 little Caucasian grrls also gamely went up, stood in between the musicians as they moved to the music.

Later Kilian even commented that they had never had such young obliging fans like these before!

While I was trying to see if I could get their CD through Amazon, I found many more works under their other albums, such as this version of the Blue Danube. It is now my favourite - the very familiar sounds of this famous Austrian waltz being gradually infused with elements of swing and complemented by the congas make it very catchy indeed!

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