Yesterday, I took my class at the HEMU to attend Kurt Rosenwinkel’s masterclass at the Montreux Jazz Academy. In a dreamlike setting, the students get to work with some oft he most acclaimed musicians.
We arrived early and got a chance to listen to the rehearsal for the concert that the academy will be doing tonight. And when we came in, they were rehearsing a beautiful composition by Nils Petter Molvaer, one of the mentors of the academy.
Yumi Ito was one of the finalists in this year’s Montreux Jazz Voice Competition. and is one of the singers attending the academy now. Back in 2014, I was on the exam committee as she completed her BA at the ZHDK, and I was impressed with her level of musicianship. What a joy to be listening to her gorgeous voice and honest rendering. I also got a chance to see Nils Petter Molvaer again which was so nice (now, we’re on a record together, too – I will write more about that once it gets here).
And so then there was Kurt Rosenwinkel. Playing Monk’s Ruby, My Dear, followed by a beautiful tune of his own, and completed by Strayhorn’s Chelsea Bridge. I have been a fan of his guitar-voice blending when he improvises and was happy he elaborated on the way this developped and how he approaches it. He said it all started out with him wanting to have body resonance sensations as he played. He started making random sounds while playing. It then evolved into singing what he played, and mixing guitar and voice in a very specific way (having just enough voice in the mix for it to add a human touch to the sound, but not as much as to really create a separate vocal sound). There are many instrumentalists that sing and/or make vocal sounds as they play. But no one does it just like him. I love it.