Melting Pot // Sylvie Courvoisier Trio
In her sparking trio with bassist Drew Gress and drummer Devin Grey, the Swiss pianist Sylvie Courvoisier transmits an infectious energy and joyful sense of experimentation. The annual format Melting Pot brings together a group of rising improvisers for the first time.
Live concert in Berlin / ca. 45 min
Melting Pot is an ongoing European cooperative endeavor that brings together a diverse group of artists to form a new ensemble with little rehearsal. This year the collaboration occurs between Jazzfest Berlin, Handelsbeurs Concert Hall, Jazztopad Festival, Nasjonal jazzscene, and Jazz Festival Saalfelden, with each presenter choosing a musician from their own region to participate. Bassist and banjo experimenter Nick Dunston (Berlin), clarinettist Barbara Maria Neu (Vienna), saxophonist Paulina Owczarek (Breslau), drummer Elias Devoldere (Ghent), and pianist Liv Andre Hauge (Oslo) are all emerging figures with distinctive personalities. The challenge and beauty of the project is somewhat invisible to listeners, as the musicians must listen, learn and adapt to their disparate approaches on the fly. Ideally, we won’t notice those spontaneous adjustments, yet on the other hand seamless perfection is not the goal. Of course, the power of improvised music is witnessing great players create something from nothing – no written material, no pre-arranged schemes – uniting in common cause, growing and pushing against strictures.
Barbara Maria Neu clarinet (Vienna)
Paulina Owczarek saxophone (Wrocław)
Liv Andrea Hauge piano (Oslo)
Elias Devoldere drums (Ghent)
Nick Dunston bass, banjo, electronics (Berlin)
in cooperation with Jazztopad (Wrocław) / Handelsbeurs (Ghent) / Nasjonal Jazzscene Victoria (Oslo) / Internationales Jazzfestival Saalfelden
Live concert in Berlin / ca. 50 min
Sylvie Courvoisier Trio
Long based in New York, Swiss pianist Sylvie Courvoisier has routinely demonstrated jaw-dropping versatility, whether exploring the boundaries of classical music in projects with her husband, violinist Mark Feldman, or through eloquent chamber improvisation projects. However, in recent years no single endeavour has transmitted the joy of her playing - as well as a stunning rhythmic acuity - like her trio with bassist Drew Gress and drummer Kenny Wollesen, who will be represented by Devin Grey at Jazzfest Berlin 2021. Last year the group released its third album “Free Hoops”, a program of original pieces with unusual sources of inspiration, whether the imaginary birdsong she invented for “Birdies of Paradise” for her ornithologist bassist, or the unpredictable feints and misdirection of “Lulu Dance”, written for the pianist’s cats. Despite drawing upon such a wide array of ideas and influences, the album achieves a deep coherence, flowing from one notion to the next with grace and internal logic. Courvoisier and her locked-in partners masterfully toggle between indelible themes, steeplechase rhythmic schemes, and wide-open improvisation gambits without a hiccup, conveying ebullient engagement as they play with melody and time.
Sylvie Courvoisier piano, composition
Drew Gress bass
Devin Gray drums