JoKleBa – St George Bristol REVIEW

As we’ve just had Christmas you may be expecting at least one pantomime review, but due to the casting of the Bristol’s Dick Whittington I am severely put off going. Instead I shall be talking about something completely out of the mainstream. Norwegian jazz.

It’s not something I would personally go and see myself, but this was a gift to my boyfriend so I did feel obliged to keep him company. This leads me onto a small disclaimer, despite all opinions being my own, this post was a joint effort as funnily enough Norwegian Jazz isn’t my forte, and he happens to know a fair bit about jazz!

The band “JoKleBa”,  derived its name from parts of the names of the three members, were… interesting to put it lightly. Their high energy heavily contrasted with their conscious lack of professionalism portrayed by a raw, unstructured and organic performance along with musicians sporting pyjamas. Interpretive is not the word for it. Not even symbolic. I almost want to say spiritual, it was like watching an exotic tribe execute a rain dance.

The piano, drums, electric system, percussion and vibrato voice merged well. The voice in particular was exceptional, a controlled yet powerful voice filled with virtuosity. The electronic system, was over prominent in many of their pieces and I really couldn’t help think of Ross in F.R.I.E.N.D.S with his “wordless sound poems”.

It was clear to see that the trio were classically trained by their chordal awareness and expert knowledge of the area of music they were exploring, but classically trained was about the only classic thing about them. It really took a while to get into as it was so unique and strange, making it difficult to connect to the trio and understand what they were trying to achieve. In my opinion this distracted from the performance.

Overall the whole experience had me stuck between “What on earth? That’s not music…” and “oh okay, yeah, that’s kinda cool”. You would definitely need to listen to less obtuse jazz before immersing yourself in the process that is “JoKleBa”. Nevertheless they had the whole auditorium on their feet and cheering for an encore. I myself won’t be flying to Norway to see them perform again.

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