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October 20, 2018

German jazz quartet mesmerises audiences


October 20, 2018

It was a merry moment as the packed-to-capacity Arts Council auditorium clapped rhythmically and screamed in wild applause in response to the numbers presented by Wolfgang Haffner’s jazz quartet from Germany on Thursday evening. It was as if the audience were simply hypnotised by the flamboyant, noisy numbers.

The group opened the account with a number which, by present-day jazz standards, was relatively sober, being from the original New Orleans school of jazz, which was comparatively slow and lilting (and certainly far more melodious and musical) as compared with the jazz of today.

The second number was far more like today’s jazz, discordant and noisy. Ironically, discord nowadays is supposed to be an important part of music. So this was nothing surprising.

Some of the numbers they rendered sounded very oriental, like Pasedome. The most remarkable thing here was the precise coordination among the four musicians, namely, Wolfgang Haffner, drums; Ferdinand Kirner, guitar; Simon Oslender, piano; and Christian Diener, bass. However, given the volume generated by the other instruments, the pianist was overshadowed. This certainly is not to cast aspersions on his performance. The fluent movement of his fingers over the keyboard was highly admirable indeed.

However, the person who really dominated the whole performance was Haffner himself. The gusto with which he played his percussion instrument, the force that he put into it, gave one the impression that he was indulging in a rigorus physical exercise, sometimes panting after his effort.

Guitarist Ferdinand Kirner was relatively sober as he plucked the strings of his instrument in a very rhythmic manner, but his precision was highly remarkable. He really was the pillar of the performance.

However, Haffner’s performance really stole the show given the enthusiasm and the force that he injected into the performance. He certainly dominated the show, viewed from any perspective.

The last number they rendered was El Vito. It was noisy and vivacious with Haffner just pounding away at his spherical contraptions with all the gusto, all the force, he could muster. What was highly encouraging was the uproarious response from the audience, with all the screaming applause and the standing ovation, which went to show what a nation of music lovers we are and how we relish the display of culture and the arts.

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