One of the first concerts of Jazzkaar 2016 took place at Punane Maja. If there were people among the audience who got there by accident they could get an idea of what to expect from the band even before the show started. Three bass guitars set up on stage indicated a bass-dominated band. When the performers were announced, Mai “Estonian Fusion Lady” Agan with her Swedish MaiGroup came on stage and without further ado the drumstick countdown started.
The five musicians on stage were working as one. Each of them was perfectly aware of the others. You could see them balance between concentrating on themselves and on their instruments as well as respectfully listening to one another, playing with each other. They did not forget the audience either. The set list was precisely designed to firstly ease the public into the band’s elaborated music, and then make everyone hold their breath in admiration. They let the audience take a breath in the middle of the show with some gentle waltz beat songs. Finally, the group turned fusion full on, unveiling incredible skills and talent and making the audience clap in hope for not letting this experience end.
The performance was kept dynamic at all times. Sometimes the bass would start, sometimes the drums or guitar. Mai switched guitars every now and then. Björn Arkö replaced his saxophone with an electric wind instrument to play “Something Magical” – a song from the band’s latest album. Each song was like a new story with multiple climaxes, and each musician was telling it a little differently, with their own perspective. They would pass the spotlight and solos between each other. Mai, the bass player and composer, talked to the audience in between the songs and introduced her colleagues with love and tenderness. The concert of MaiGroup felt like a very personal, even intimate experience between the audience, the band and the music.
Check out the photos from the concert here.
22nd of April, 9.30pm at Punane Maja
Björn Arkö – sax
Calle Stålenbring – guitar
Simon Berggren – keyboards
Mai Agan – bass & compositions
Jonathan Lundberg – drums