Tag Archives: berlin music scene

The 105 Lenz-Kubach-Johnson Jazz Trio: 22 Nov. at Gemeinschaftshaus Gropiusstadt

collageAs cozy and welcoming as their 16 November performance at the Kellergalerie was, though the “love” was great, seating was limited. Upcoming on Friday, 22 November, however, there is a larger opportunity for jazz lovers to see the trio in a venue where their music can truly echo!

Located in the Neukölln district of Berlin, Germany, Gemeinschaftshaus Gropiusstadt is a center where cultural development is advocated and encouraged, and the music of The 105 would certainly qualify at culturally enriching and appealing to people from all backgrounds, ethnicities and countries.

Entry begins at 7:30pm and concert begins at 8:00pm.Tickets are 10€ at the door, 8€ in advance, and they usually go fast! Infos und Tickets: 030 90239-1416 oder www@tickets-gemeinschaftshaus.de.

From their website http://kultur-neukoelln.de/gemeinschaftshaus-gropiusstadt-programm.php

From their website

For more information please visit their website: http://kultur-neukoelln.de/gemeinschaftshaus-gropiusstadt-programm-veranstaltung-1766.php

About past performances:

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Performing Twice in November: The 105 Lenz-Kubach-Johnson Jazz Trio

 

jazztrioThe 105 Lenz-KubachZam Johnson Jazz Trio were the 1st international group to perform in October in Libya, and the 1st jazz band in 40 Years!

Am Samstag, den 16. November 2013, 20:00 Uhr
Kellergalerie Oranienstraße 7
10997 Berlin
Einlass ist 19.30 Uhr.
Bitte bei „Keller“ klingeln.
Bitte nicht später als 20:00 klingeln

und

Am Freitag, den 22. November 2013, 20:00
Gemeinschaftshaus Gropiusstadt, Kleiner Saal
Bat-Yam-Platz 1, 12353 Berlin.
http://kultur-neukoelln.de/gemeinschaftshaus-gropiusstadt-programm.php

For reviews of past performances:
http://redhaircrow.com/2013/03/03/enzkubachjohnson/
http://redhaircrow.com/2012/10/26/jazz-trio-20-oct/
http://redhaircrow.com/2013/04/13/when-they-make-you-feel-it-the-105-lenz-kubach-johnson-jazz-trio-12-april-2013-at-wabe/
http://redhaircrow.com/2013/10/04/the-three-with-no-fear-the-105-lenz-kubach-johnson-jazz-trio/

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Music/Venue Review: “When They Make You Feel It”: The 105 Lenz Kubach Johnson Jazz Trio, 12 April 2013 at WABE

When they make you feel it…the music that is…my first analogy would be: it’s like walking on air, or what you’d imagine walking on air would feel like. Or experiencing joy of a sudden because of a sound or thought that makes you smile…

As silly as it might sound, sometimes when I sit and listen to the jazz trio, 105 Lenz-Kubach-Johnson, it reminds me of the cartoons of Charles Schutz, and specifically two characters, Snoopy and Woodstock. When the two friends were together in good times, Snoopy dancing in his crazy, wonderful way and the little birdie, Woodstock, flying all around him? They visibly exuded pure joy, love, sharing, togetherness. Honest and true positivity. On Friday, 12 April, Uli Lenz, Gerhard “Kubi” Kubach and Zam Johnson brought that spirit to the WABE.

WABE Entrance by Red Haircrow

WABE Entrance by Red Haircrow

Located at 101 Danzigerstr. in the Prenzlauer Berg district of Berlin, Germany, a former municipal gasworks plant circa 1873, the WABE is a venue that is well laid out, convenient and intimate in a great way, for its auditorium may house up to 400 people, but its circular interior gives a great perspective for any guest.

Bar drinks don’t have inflated prices, and there are plenty of tables in its foyer to relax and visit with friends at during a program’s interim, yet because they have a video feed and screen in said space, you can see and listen to the action on stage even if you are away from your seat. You don’t have to miss a note. And believe me, with this trio? You don’t want to miss one, for each is lovingly rendered and produced.

WABE Foyer by Red Haircrow

WABE Foyer by Red Haircrow

Like the two older men who are long time followers, who I’ve seen at every event I attended, and who, Zam tells me, were musicians themselves in various orchestras and arrangements in Europe for over half a century, I never get tired of listening to or watching this trio. Their enthusiasm is infectious, their skill is great, and their professionalism is impeccable but unlike some musicians where such creates an aloofness or separation, this trio is warm and friendly.

They greet their guests like old acquaintances, and many are or have come to be. But whether or not, before or after their concert,  you might be able to speak to one or all of them personally, the enormous appreciation they exude for your having come to see and listen to them can be felt. That’s an exceptionally special thing about 105 Lenz-Kubach-Johnson jazz trio besides their classic approach to modern jazz. When you want to experience the true meaning of love for the music, musician generated atmosphere and an individualistic yet collective flair of personalities that returns to combine in smooth jazz harmony? Go see 105 Lenz-Kubach-Johnson wherever they are, whenever you can. You’ll never be disappointed.

Players by Red Haircrow

Players by Red Haircrow

Paying It Back by Red Haircrow

Paying It Back by Red Haircrow

Bows by Red Haircrow

Bows by Red Haircrow

My personal plus photo? Even the bathrooms have class. This was the men’s. I can’t tell you about the ladies room.

The "John" by Red Haircrow

The “John” by Red Haircrow

My other Music Reviews:

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Music Reviews: “Moved by Blues” -The Pete Wyoming Bender Band, Rickenbackers Music Inn

Intro by Red Haircrow

Compared to many private venues in Berlin, Rickenbackers Music Inn is generously spacious enough to accommodate a sizeable crowd in its many nooks and cranies while still maintaining a very intimate atmosphere. Yet when you have a crowd that swelled to the size the legendary Pete Wyoming Bender Band drew on Sunday night, 31 March? It was packed wall to wall. Every table was reserved, standing room only.

Rickenbackers by Red Haircrow

From my perspective in one front corner generously suggested to me by Pete, I waited for the gig to begin while observing some typically Teutonic behavior in a modern sense: an older German couple glanced at their recently delivered plus-sized hamburgers with mild dismay before beginning to delicately go at them with a knife and fork. People, you just pick them up and take a big ol’ bite.

Next, there was a ten-minute discussion between several people on how a young woman might deal with a stool with one leg shorter than the other. They finally folded up coasters so it could sit evenly, but I couldn’t help but think, what did it matter? They were not at Berlin’s fabulous symphony orchestra hall, so what did they expect? They were there for the music, or should have been. I was, for that and a couple of beers.

Close Set by Red Haircrow

I suppose it’s my background in psychology, which can include so many other disciplines and nuances, that I watched the faces of the performers as a clue to how they feel about the music and bandmates, not while they were actively playing of course, but when they were listening to the other members. Also, it’s curious how their instrument of primary choice reflects what seems to somehow reflect them-

Warsteiner by Red Haircrow

selves, especially the ones I’ve met before or knew personally.

Paul Playing by Red Haircrow

In this case, there was Paul Schwingenschlögl on trumpet: friendly and upbeat but with a surprising sultriness. Zam Johnson on drums: direct, attention-getting and relentlessly exciting, and Pete “Wyoming” Bender himself, whom I found on short acquaintance suggestive of great depth and passion, with an infinite love for music and people in every word and gesture. There was the lead guitarist whose name I didn’t know, as well as the bass guitarist whose persona matched his instrument, and the special guest, saxophonist Detriot “Detroit” Gary Wiggins, who closed his eyes, smiling, patient and enjoying himself while waiting for his solos.

Zam Johnson by Red Haircrow

There was no impatience or indifference on the faces of the players whether they were active or not, and several times, if you were paying attention, you could catch the spark of communication between them with no words being spoken: inside humor or a heartfelt nod of “great job, bro, I’m feeling you” evidenced by a sudden smile, a quick glance or a special, personal crescendo because they utterly knew their mates were backing their rise. This might not seem like something special, but when you consider that a number of these musicians regularly play with other people: different gigs, different places, even different types of music? It is spectacular when they can come back again and achieve this level of harmony and meaning.

In the end, that harmony can be attributed to Pete Wyoming Bender, who can pull these talented men together and direct them in song after song that moved their audience. The Incredible Pete Wyoming Bender Band completely satisfies lovers of the genre, not just delivering songs one might know, but infusing every single one: every word, every cord and key with profound knowledge, appreciation and respect.

BAND MARCH RICKEN final

 

*Except for the last photo with titling for the Pete Wyoming Bender Band, all others were taken by and are copyright to Red Haircrow.

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Music/Event Review: “The 105 Lenz-Kubach-Johnson Jazz Trio at Luisabad Bibliothek”

Bibliothek Ceiling by Red Haircrow

Bibliothek Ceiling by Red Haircrow

In some ways, as you might imagine, Berlin is a city of contrasts. You have staid Germans, whether young or old, going about their lives and business, primarily interacting with those who look and act like them, besides the Germans who are eclectic, whether young or old, who reach out to and enjoy peoples of all kinds: different cultures, different languages, differences of thoughts and behaviors (among other things). Not knocking the former at all, you have those who can combine and/or appreciate their own culture and music, and those of others. And of course, you have a huge multi-cultural mix of people otherwise.

You also have a distinct slice of ageism here. You see it is advertisements for employees or business partners, start-ups, and projects of all kinds: “We are a hip young team searching for other young people to______.” Fill in the blank, as you will. But the primary attitude prevails in that set that only young people, and usually those under 25 and no older than 30 at most (!) cannot be knowledgeable to trends, or be hip, cool, smart, funny or anything else. If you are older than 30? You are to be dismissed, ignored or blinked at owlishly.

Whatever your ethnicity, your background, your age, or how you felt at the moment…for I came to this venue straight from work and was rather worn-looking, and felt out of place in the crowd of, by majority, “proper” Germans, stylishly dressed, the kind that, unless forced to, never look at or acknowledge you at all if you are not like themselves: The jazz Trio at Luisabad Bibilothek were vivid in a moment outside of time.

The music played by the trio of Uli Lenz (piano), Gerhard Kubach (Bass), and Zam Johnson (Drums) soon took me beyond b, but oundaries, most especially because most of the others didn’t interest me at all. Art transcended comparative age, and the trio were hip, cool and happening, even if the younger crowd have their new slangs and phrases to describe the same.

Mural by Red Haircrow

Mural by Red Haircrow

It was an undeniably beautiful venue, an intimate venue, with probably no  more than seventy-five chairs (at the most) fanned out for the pieces of the trio: piano, bass and drums. Playing jazz favorites like “Morning Star” and “I Cover the Waterfront,” I recognized almost all the music, and on row three, aisle seat, I had a very good view of Zam and the other two players.  The performance was superlative with the musicians clearly displaying, without words, their love for their art and craft, as well as the players who’d gone before them. If you had the “soul,” you could feel the music in the different way than politely nodding.

Seated next to me, on the left, were two older gentleman who obviously “felt” the music.  One was obviously a former drummer whose staccato finger and hand movements on the top of his brown-trousered thighs showed his knowledge of the pieces being played, shadowing Zam’s alternatively slow, hypnotic movements in one set… contrasting to the high energy moves in another. On the old drummer’s farther side was a gentleman with nails carefully trimmed and rounded on long, eloquent fingers which almost perfectly followed Uli Lenz’s playing.

You don’t have to be 20 to be cool or happening. Just because you’re over 3o doesn’t mean you have no appeal, energy or can’t truly “feel the love” anymore. Even if “they” say at Der Spiegel magazine that Leipzig is the New Berlin for hipsters, and that all the young artsy, German musicians are headed that way? I say let them go, if you can’t appreciate the vibrant scene that is still here or if only those who are young are to be considered as worthy.

Sure, I would have felt more comfortable in some basement or backstreet lounge with lowlight, a drink in one hand and perhaps a cigarette in the other, among people willing to look you in the eye and acknowledge you as human just like themselves, but these three guys played their hearts, souls and fingers out, and rocked the venue. They transcended the venue. Lovers of classic jazz mixed with jazzed contemporary? Don’t miss them next time. Check http://105lenzkubachjohnson.com/ and Facebook pages for next.

The Three by Red Haircrow

The Three by Red Haircrow

 

*All photos were taken by and are copyright to Red Haircrow.

 

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