Like Watching Friends Chilling

28. April 2019
Lennart Richter

After the short introduction by the band leader and a long round of applause for the instrumentalists, people still came streaming through the doors of the already packed Vaba Lava concert hall to see Shai Maestro Trio. The New York based band around the Israeli pianist started their show with a minute of silence before introducing soft and tender tones that would swell up into a couple of very atmospheric minutes. From the beginning on it became clear how each individual player masterfully understands to stand for themselves, weave their own musical thread, but never lose sight of the music and their fellow musicians. The applause after this first yet untitled tune was deafening and lasted for an absurdly long time, which emphasized the audience’s enthusiasm towards the three musicians. They continued with pieces like The Forgotten Village from the latest album The Dream Thief (2018) which were equally celebrated by the crowd and showed how much the band enjoyed themselves performing their highly improvisational and polyrhythmic repertoire.


Over the course of the concert Jorge Roeder on double bass and Ofri Nehemya on drums, just like Maestro himself, had ample opportunity to solo and joyfully express their gratitude to be able to play with each other on this stage and in this moment. Laughing and joking throughout the entire performance it became obvious how these friends were just hanging out and enjoying their Saturday night and each other’s company – it just so happened that they found themselves on stage in a nearly sold out concert hall.


After What Else Needs To Happen?, an anti gun violence statement performed only by piano and bass, the highlight of the concert was the involvement of the audience in From One Soul To Another taken from the 2016 release The Stone Skipper. Towards the middle of the tune the band started singing the main melody in unison and motivated listeners to join in, which elevated the energy in the room to a whole new level. After an outstanding piano solo the performance ended in a round of standing ovations for the trio and the demand for an encore.


This intimate and highly energetic concert was definitely one of the most celebrated and appreciated performances of Jazzkaar 2019 and will stay in the memories of those, who were lucky enough to be a part of it. Afterwards one was able to listen to attendees philosophizing enthusiastically about what they just witnessed. They played so relaxed and smooth „it was like watching friends just chilling…“


Shai Maestro Trio (Israel/USA)

Saturday April 27, 2019 19:00 – Vaba Lava


Shai Maestro – piano

Jorge Roeder – bass

Ofri Nehemya – drums


See photos from the concert here.