Glasgow Jazz Festival

Scottish German Jazz Collective

City of Music Studio

Rob Adams


TWO Unesco cities of music, Hannover and Glasgow, combined in jazz harmony to bring together the septet of musicians featured in this early evening concert. Saxophonists Adam Jackson and Michael Butcher, bassist Brodie Jarvie and drummer Stephen Henderson have been visible and audible presences on both the Glasgow and wider Scottish scenes in recent years, and their German counterparts projected a similar and certainly compatible level of accomplishment.

Singer Anja Ritterbusch, who has actually been based in Glasgow for the past year, fronted the group with confidence, her often wordless singing lending a distinctive tone to the music as well as reinforcing the frontline’s impact, and pianist Eike Wulfmeier brought admirable clarity to the role of accompanist while also improvising with strong ideas, sensitivity and energetic attack where appropriate.

With five composers contributing to the repertoire, there was a good variety of styles and approaches and work by prominent poets from both countries, Robert Louis Stevenson and Rainer Maria Rilke, stitched in with imagination, added to the music’s character. Rilke’s Liebeslied, delivered by Ritterbusch and the rhythm section, took on impressive urgency and a definite shape in song form and there was poetry of a more atmospheric kind in Jackson’s initially celebratory but also quite dark Amsterdam.

Jackson also provided the buoyant set closer, For Folk’s Sake, whose smart entwining of traditional music and jazz phrasing and effective use of Butcher on soprano saxophone and Arne Pünter on tenor belied its rather weary, if apt, title and gave way to a fine series of traded choruses between the composer on alto and Wulfmeier on piano.