Sep
13
9:00 PM21:00

Bänz Oester & The Rainmakers

With Javier Vercher (tenor saxophone), Afrika Mkhize (piano), Ayanda Sikade (drums), and Bänz Oester (bass).

A high-voltage connection between North and South

That one can successfully venture into jazz nirvana on the basis of a catchy melody, was proven by John Coltrone’s magical metamorphoses of the musical hit, „My Favorite Things“, in a particularly remarkable way. (Coltrane recorded the piece for the first time in 1960 and kept it in his repertoire nearly up to his death seven years later).

The Swiss-South African band The Rainmakers, formed around the internationally acclaimed bassist Bänz Oester, recorded their debut album at Jazz Club Bird’s Eye in Basel (CH) in 2012. On their latest, and second live album, they follow in the footsteps of Coltrane. Their use of the legendary Jacques Brel chanson „Amsterdam“, and the evergreen Swiss hit „Dr Schacher Seppli“, is breathtaking. The five remaining numbers are only slightly less spectacular. The Rainmakers are therefore undoubtedly a typical live band, and that is why it makes sense that they did not lock themselves up in a studio to record their second CD – a lion in the wild is much more majestic than one in the zoo.

This splendid band succeeds in quasi squaring the circle, namely the symbiosis of ecstatic soberness and feel-good happiness. No wonder that audiences in Willisau cheered wildly in response (even some critics discreetly sung their praises). That this memorable concert recording now exists under the title „Ukuzinikela“, is a genuine godsend. The name of the nostalgic pop piece with which the concert fades out, might be understood as a kind of promise: “ Nach em Räge schint Sunne » (After the rain, the sun will shine). Or put differently, these rainmakers conjure up the sun in our hearts and souls – that they refrain from top-heavy concepts, is a matter of honour.

According to Keith Jarrett, Willisau is „one of the best places for music across the globe.“ Not only have countless African-American jazz luminaries performed in Willisau, but just about every legendary personality from the South African jazz scene, among them Abdullah Ibrahim, Dudu Pukwana, Johnny Dyani, Louis Moholo, Makaya Nthsoko and Chris McGregor. During apartheid many prominent South African musicians fled into exile. The new generation, however, is based in their ancestral homeland, but maintain an active exchange with jazz scenes beyond its borders, to the North.

The Rainmakers are a prime example of this fruitful exchange between North and South. The bandleader and bassist, Bänz Oester, and Ganesh Geymeier on tenor sax, come from Switzerland; the pianist Afrika Mkhize and drummer Ayanda Sikade count among the new continent-hopping talents from South Africa. The four of them form a close-knit, inseparable unit. In other words, we are dealing with a formation in which individual strengths are not showcased in egocentric fashion, but are transformed into a collective energy.

Oester, who cherishes a long-standing fascination with the rich musical culture of Africa, puts it this way: „I want to communicate on equal footing with the other musicians. For that a certain attitude, which does not tolerate hierarchical thinking, is necessary. My objective is to break boundaries. I don’t dictate anything to anyone – the music is conjointly developed.“ Namely along a high-voltage connection between North and South.

For further informations visit: rainmakers.info

Musicians:

Bandleader Bänz Oester has been active in the swiss and international scene of jazz and improvised music since the early eighties as a member of numerous projects on his own or as part of copllective groups. Currently he is playing with his Quartet The Rainmakers, with the WHO-Trio including Gerry Hemingway and Michel Wintsch, in Duo with Vocal artist Andreas Schaerer, and as sideman with Donat Fisch Trio/Quartet, Marcus Wyatt Quartet and others.

Javier Vercher is born in Madrid and currently living in Valencia. After classical clarinet studies he went to study at the Berklee College in Boston. Back in Spain he won the Tete Montoliu Best Breakthrough Award in 2007. He has published a series of CDs under his name. Collaborations on stage and in studio with Larry Grenadier, Lionel Loueke, Billy Hart, Jorge Rossy, Bob Moses, Robert Glasper and many others.

South African pianist Afrika Mkhize is living in Johannesburg. He has made himself a big reputation with his distinctive piano-playing, as a versatile producer and as musical director in Miriam Makebas Band.

Drummer Ayanda Sikade is also living in Johannesburg, he is playing with many famous South-African musicians such as Feya Faku, Bheki Mseleku, Robbie Jansen, Barney Rachabane, Darius Brubeck and many others. He was also member of legendary saxophonist Zim Ngqawana’s band.

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Aug
24
10:30 PM22:30

Late Night Jazz - Tom Barford 4tet - Villars Big

PART 1 : TOM BARFORD 4tet

Kenny Wheeler Price winner, Tom Barford has slowly become recognised as one of the most exciting saxophone players emerging on the London Jazz Scene

For this one off run of gig's Tom will be playing in a quartet setting with UK heavyweight's: David Ferris (Piano), Dave Storey (Drums) and Will Sach (Bass).

Tom will be playing a mixture of his music, a selection of jazz standards and some of his favourite contemporary music.

PART 2 : JAM SESSION

After the concert during the first set, the stage will be open to all for a late night jam session.

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Aug
23
10:30 PM22:30

Late Night Jazz - Villars Big

PART 1: VILLARS' FINEST

The Villars' Finest brings together jazz soloists from around the world, all of them regulars of festivals: saxophonist Robert Bonisolo (Italy), trumpeter Jean-François Baud (France), pianist Simon Seidl (Germany), vibraphonist Jean-Lou Treboux (Switzerland), bassist Joshua Ginsburg (Germany) and drummer Mario Gonzi (Austria).

PART 2 : JAM SESSION

After the concert of the first set, the stage will be open to all for a jam session that will continue until the end of the night!

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Aug
22
10:30 PM22:30

Late Night Jazz - Villars Big

PART 1: VILLARS' FINEST

The Villars' Finest brings together jazz soloists from around the world, all of them regulars of festivals: saxophonist Robert Bonisolo (Italy), trumpeter Jean-François Baud (France), pianist Simon Seidl (Germany), vibraphonist Jean-Lou Treboux (Switzerland), bassist Joshua Ginsburg (Germany) and drummer Mario Gonzi (Austria).

PART 2 : JAM SESSION

After the concert of the first set, the stage will be open to all for a jam session that will continue until the end of the night!

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Mar
9
9:00 PM21:00

Jam Session - Special guest from Hamburg

Fabia Mantwill (Tenor Saxophone, voice), Noé Tavelli (Drums), Antoine Brochot (Bass), & Étienne Loupi (Guitare)

Fabia Mantwill is a Berlin-based saxophonist, vocalist and composer with an international focus. She has been gaining increasing recognition as an important young German jazz musician with her own message. Her diverse output encompasses work as a bandleader, contemporary composer, arranger, collaborator and improviser.

Fabia has recently written for the Metropole Orkest (NL) feat. Becca Stevens and conducted by Vince Mendoza.

In November 2018 her orchestra work, Sasa ndio Sasa, was premiered at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, where she was featured as a composer, conductor and soloist.

In 2017 she was selected for the International Workshop for Jazz and Creative Music at Banff Centre Canada, curated by Vijay Iyer and Tyshawn Sorey. In 2016 she received the Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead Residency by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

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Feb
16
9:00 PM21:00

Lost in Swing

Louis Billette (Saxophone), Etienne Loupot (Guitare), Julien Lemoine (Vibraphone), Clément Meunier (Clarinette), and Piotr Wegrowski (Basse)

Lost in Swing est né en septembre 2013 à l’initiative du vibraphoniste Julien Lemoine. Celui-ci réunit autour de lui des amis de longues dates: Etienne Loupot à la guitare, Louis Billette au saxophone ténor, Clément Meunier à la clarinette et Piotr Wegrowski à la contrebasse. Les cinq compères s’attachent à revisiter les grands noms du swing tels que Lionel Hampton, Fats Waller, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Coleman Hawkins et bien d’autres encore.

Durant les premiers mois de son existence, ce quintet travaille sous la houlette de Thomas Dobler (vibraphone), au sein d’un workshop de la Haute Ecole de Musique de Lausanne département jazz où ses membres étudient tous. Cette première période de travail vise à aborder le répertoire et à se l’approprier, avant de monter sur scène. Passée cette étape, le groupe se lance dans le grand bain et enchaîne les concerts à Lausanne et ses environs. On les aura vu se produire notamment à l’EJMA, au Chorus Club (Lausanne) pour la journée internationale du Jazz, plusieurs fois à l’Eglise Saint-François dans des programmes sur Sydney Bechet ou encore sur le fameux disque Bag’s and Trane, au Château Villa de la ville de Sierre, à la Fondation l’Hermitage (Lausanne), au Festival Rive-Jazzy des quartiers de Nyon, à la cave Marignac de Lancy, au festival Montreux Jazz 2014 et 2015, Bern Jazz Festival 2014, Cully-Jazz 2015, aux Archives Nationales à Paris avec l’association Jeunes Talents…

Parallèlement à ces concerts, Lost in Swing joue beaucoup dans la rue et enchante les weeks-end des flâneurs à Ouchy, au bord du Lac Léman. Peut-être les croiserez-vous un jour…

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Jan
19
9:00 PM21:00

Marquise Fair

Marquise Fair (Chant, guitare), Bertrand Vorp (Guitare), Hakim Boukhit (Basse), and Kermit (Batterie). At age five, Marquise found his love for singing in Sunday services. In his teens, this passion transitioned into songwriting from the bedroom of his Miami childhood home. He is now a singer, songwriter and self-taught musician. Music had always been an important part of his life, though mainly as a hobby. It wasn’t until 2012 that it took on a professional turn.

Since then, Marquise has bounced around Europe and the USA playing original songs. He was the opening artist for the English singer and songwriter Charlie Winston at Villars music Festival 2016 in Villars-Sur-Ollon, Switzerland. He is currently working on finalizing his first album of nine songs.

Based in Miami, he now performs at various private parties, grassroots charity events and local business including: Whiskey Joe’s, Wynwood Yard, Wynwood Garden Food and Bar, Wynwood 5th, Mana Wynwood, Miami-Dade College Homestead Campus and advertising agency Sapient Nitro’s Miami office.

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Jan
12
9:00 PM21:00

Jam Session - Special guest from Hamburg

Wolfgang Hanninger (Saxophone) welcomes Lasse Golz (Saxophone ténor), Julien Ménagé (Piano), Xavier Longchamp (Batterie), and Piotr Wegrowski (Basse)

Lasse Golz is a saxophonist and composer living in Hamburg. He studied jazz saxophone, clarinet and flute with Fiete Felsch at the "College of Music and Theater". Lasse has also distinguished himself as a composer and composes with the Hamburg trumpeter Matthis Rasche for their own big band.

Lasse Golz currently plays in various groups as leader and sideman in the Hamburg area. In January he released his first CD with his own quartet. In 2015, the quartet had the opportunity to play a few concerts in South Korea. Lasse Golz is very much involved in the Hamburg jazz scene and is co-organizer of the jazz series "JazzLAB" in Karolinenstraße 45.

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