Jazzanova groove back to Berlin

DJ/producer collective Jazzanova performed alongside friends Rachel Sermanni, David Lemaitre and Paul Randolph last Friday at a packed Festsaal Kreuzberg.

Briefly returning home while on tour promoting their latest album, The Pool, the beloved Berliner group welcomed family, friends and fans from out of town for a full night of moving and grooving.

Guitarist David Lemaitre opened the night with a solo set, serenading the crowd with sweet melodies superbly crafted with his effects pedals.  Skillful steps on his looper pedal allowed him to layer multiple lines on top of vibrant vocals, soothing a sociable, mature crowd inside the venue —one with an excellent sound system.

Rachel Sermanni and her band (unfortunately, sans drummer) followed with a melancholic mix of love songs, spiritual hymns and double bass filled folk tunes.

At just after 10 o’ clock, Axel Reinemer and Stephan Leisering (the production part of the group) quietly walked on stage with the band’s drummer. Half hidden in dark blue light, they opened with “Now (L.O.V.E and You and I) Pt. 2.” Rapper Odissee’s recorded voice hung headless in the air, stirring excitement and anticipation for an anxious audience ready to dance to the funky, soulful jazz tunes that has made Jazzanova a staple of the Berlin music scene for over twenty years.

Rachel Sermanni was brought back to sing “Rain Makes the River,” a powerful beat driven ballad that kept heads bumping back and forth in rapt attention.

Then the lights burst orange like the sun and a warm glow of collective happiness filled the room as Detroit native and longtime Jazzanova collaborator Paul Randolph ran onto the stage in style and sung “I Human.” Rocking tight white pants, a black t-shit with a signing lion, and a brown, wide-brimmed hat and big shades, Randolph belted it throughout the night with soul shining through his smile.

“Yes, Germans love to dance”

They played a long set with “Sincere”, “It’s Beautiful” and more from the new album mixed with their older stuff. With Roskow Kretschmann on the Rhodes piano, Lemaitre on guitar and a two man horn section all playing extremely tight, the group of veteran musicians rocked a packed hall and made it a night to remember.

During the afterparty —masterfully selected by DJs Class Brieler and Alexander Barck— indieBerlin briefly caught up with some of the band for a curious brain picking about audience etiquette and Germans dancing: yes, Germans love to dance (it just takes then a little while longer to get loose), and no, it’s not great seeing people film the show with their iPhone (but sometimes it can force you to get focused and you end up playing your best).

Jazzanova will hit Instanbul on Nov. 2nd, the last stop on their two month European tour and a last chance to see a fantastic show.

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