BELGIUM: Tue 06.03, Brussels: FLAGEY JAZZ SESSIONS Boyan Vodenitcharov, Steve Houben Duo, Sal La Rocca 5tet Igloo Records' Session
Two jazz groups celebrate the release of new albums : the Vodenitcharov/Houben duo and Sal La Rocca’s new formation. The former released Darker Scales last autumn with Igloo Records, an exploration of the connections between jazz and contemporary classical, and a freewheeling experiment that reflects the musicians’ long friendship. Double bass player Sal La Rocca has performed with Toots Thielemans, Philip Catherine, Nathalie Loriers and Lee Konitz, among others. For his second album,It Could Be the End, he joins sax player Jacques Scharwz-Bart and Hans Van Oosterhout. Schwarz-Bart has played with musicians as different as Roy Hargrove, Me-Shell Ndegeocello, Roy Haynes, Ari Hoenig and d’Angelo. His jazz reflects his Guadaloupean origins. FLAGEY
Bulgarian pianist Boyan Vodenicharov and Belgian sax Steve Houben have released a new album entitled Darker Scales. We kick off with the piece Lime Limit.
You've heard Lime Limit, which is reminiscent of the jazz standard Limehouse Blues. The piece is authored by Steve Houben, a famous Belgian sax player and flutist. Having graduated Berklee College of Music-Boston, Steve teaches at Liege Conservatory. He's been on stage together with Toots Thielemans, Chet Baker, Mike Stern, Gerry Mulligan and many others. He's released some 40 albums, with the last one, Darker Scales, having been recorded with Bulgarian pianist Boyan Vodenicharov.
Boyan Vodenicharov is a classical pianist and a laureate of several large-scale piano contests, such as the Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels. He gives solo and chamber concerts as well as teaches piano and antique keyboard instruments at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels. He's made dozens of albums offering the piano sonatas of Haydn, Mozart, Brahms, etc. All pieces have been performed with original instruments or copies from the epoch of the above composers. He first met Steve in 1983. At the time, Boyan was invited to take part in the Queen Elizabeth Competition by playing classical music and jazz pieces. Their first album was called Les Valses.
“After recording the first album we kept giving concerts and working on new pieces," Boyan Vodenicharov explains. "At first, our task was to find a common ground. He's interested in classical music and I play jazz. After many concerts, things got to happen more naturally. Our last album has got an organic sounding. It was presented in November in Jazz Station, an old Brussels station, transformed into an art space that is both a concert hall and a jazz club. All new jazz albums are presented there. Darker Scales was included in the programme of Jazz Station, although it's not jazz in the true sense of the word. It's rather improvisations that vary between “jazz” and “no-jazz”. In fact, I don't know what you call “no-jazz”. Sometimes all names and labels are not enough to define what sounds make, because they have their own opinion and nature”.
Now back to Prof. Vodenicharov, who tells us more about teaching improvisations. “The students and I do basic stuff. I offer them ideas from my improvisations. The course aims to introduce this kind of music to students because classical musicians are often afraid of it. I teach them how to listen to harmony, movement and phrase. If they don't follow these parameters, they can't compose anything. I suppose that every child starting to play a musical instrument improvises spontaneously. In the learning process, however, this is lost. Improvisation is a kind of link between playing and composition. This is what's most important about it!” (BNR.BG)