Rebellious mind music with a burning heart – Amok Amor

07. December 2016
Joern Peeck

Nervous excitement and positive anticipation fills the room. This evening’s audience in Theatre NO99 came for a very specific performance. Consisting of essential figures in Europe’s-and-beyond leading creative jazz scene, the band Amok Amor laid down a vibrant and burning statement.


Entering the stage full of exuberant agitation, Lillinger counts in the band, barely having taken a seat on his drum stool. And then they go, cooking up within few seconds with the freshest burning swing the world has heard yet. There is an impatient, vivid and deeply urban feel to this music: Always multiple metric layers to be followed, even lyrical passages being morphed through sound- and time-warp, highly artistically organized mess. Through-composed moments make way for fiery improvisations in the blink of an eye.


The whirlwind section, Slavin on alto and Evans on trumpet, unifies in meticulous melodies and adoringly fights each other in collective improvisation. Their stream-of-consciousness is always guided and redefined by the endless innovation of Eldh and Lillinger. Form and time seem to be variables these young masters can create and alter at will. To emphasize the qualities of the individual musicians, though, seems redundant. Their virtuosity is always a tool for the greater good: the message of the collective.


The only possible aspect to criticise about this performance inherently lacks the substance for critique: Virtually never did it calm down to a relaxed soothing musical mood. The musicians were, miraculously, able to keep the energy stream constantly high and even higher, sometimes leaving the listener overpowered with impression, emotion and information. In that sense, this can just be interpreted as one dimension of the music of Amok Amor, reflecting the tempo and the challenges our society is facing nowadays, which can sometimes become too much for an individual to handle.


It is obvious, that it was not the intention of the group to provide an easily enjoyable, light-hearted entertainment evening. But for those listeners willing to indulge in Amok Amor’s message, and there were a lot of those in the refreshingly mixed-aged audience, they offered a highly rewarding and mind-renewing experience. After about a set of merely an hour, plenty of time to say everything that needed to be said, the musicians left the stage, grateful for the audience’s deep appreciation.


December 5th 2016 at 8 pm Theatre NO99 jazz club

Amok Amor (Germany-USA-Sweden)

Petter Eldh – double bass
Peter Evans – trumpet
Wanja Slavin – alto saxophone
Christian Lillinger – drums


Check the photos here.