Review: Young Estonian jazz left the brass behind

20. April 2014
Monika Erdman

First thing people mostly associate with jazz music is brass (usually a saxophone). At the Young Jazz Talent Award gala no-one played any wind instrument.

The concert was opened by Erki Pärnoja who played his own compositions and let the public enjoy the gentle and bright sound of a guitar, flowing with Joel Remmel’s deep piano passages. Even though Pärnoja mentioned that they had not practiced much before the concert, it was hard to see any misunderstanding between them. After going a bit avant-garde and abstract in the first song they cleverly and thoughtfully came back to the main theme, showing great teamwork and splendid composing skills. 

Then, a smiling, shiny girl appeared on stage – Kadri Voorand. She was going to surprise the listeners. She explained that the song was about the sea and a girl. When the band started playing you could see the sea without understanding a word. Kadri Voorand does what contemporary musicians often forget to do – she tells stories with music and non-verbal vocalizations. After the first piece, Voorand suddenly became an incredible mix of Karin Dreijer Andersson and Mike Patton. Totally insane and astonishing! Supported by distortion guitar and saturated bass line she danced, jumped and used effect pedal board creating terrifying inhuman voice. With one perfect execution the band made public sit on the edge of the chairs.

Sofia Rubina is the example of classy and stylish jazz. With the help of swinging rhythm section she showed wide possibilities of her strong and beautiful voice in an unforgettable solo and then bashfully passed the solo to the pianist. It was unpredictable and amusing to hear Jewish traditional song motives in Sofia’s second piece. The band skilfully turned ethnic music into groove, changing measures and themes so neatly that it was absolutely insensibly and enjoyable for everyone. 

Double bass is still not considered as a solo instrument, but when a talented bass player has melodic thinking, we have Avishai Cohen or Esperanza Spalding. In Estonia we have Peedu Kass. The first piece he played with his friends Andre Maaker and Ahto Abner was full of joyful and hilarious dialogues between the instruments, making it music for musicians. Peedu Kass finished with beautiful solo performance “Goodbye pork pie hat” by Charles Mingus and left the stage for Joel Remmel. 

Playing in a bunch of different projects, Joel Remmel composes his own songs and at the “Young Estonian Jazz” show, he performed the earlier two, but rearranged and elaborated. With beautiful Laura Remmel on vocals and inventive Kaspar Kalluste on drums they impressed listeners by playing sophisticated dark-coloured music, adding to the atmosphere with Laura Remmel’s breathing modified with sound effects. 

Rhythmically varying program was expected from Kaspar Kalluste. As a special guest he invited Kadri Voorand and they did a marvellous piece with phonetic lyrics and rock elements. 

Holger Marjamaa performed last but not the least. He showed that young artists still respect traditions and find inspiration in golden heritage of Jazz music by demonstrating his virtuosity and staying melodic and careful to the originals. He performed “Very early” by Bill Evans and “Inner Urge” by Joe Henderson.


Gala concert “Young Estonian Jazz”

April 19 at the Marina Pavillion

Erki Pärnoja (guitar), Joel Remmel (piano), Heikko Remmel (double bass), Ahto Abner (drums)

Kadri Voorand (vocals, piano), Virgo Sillamaa (guitar), Mihkel Mälgand (double bass)

Sofia Rubina (vocals), Mihkel Mälgand (double bass), Ahto Abner (drums)

Peedu Kass (double bass), Andre Maaker (guitar), Ahto Abner (drums)

Joel Remmel (piano), Laura Remmel (vocals), Kaspar Kalluste (drums)

Kaspar Kalluste (drums), Kadri Voorand (vocals), Virgo Sillamaa (guitar), Marti Tärn (bass guitar)

Holger Marjamaa (piano), Heikko Remmel (double bass), Kaspar Kalluste (drums)