Fatima Spar & Jazzorchester Vorarlberg


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Listening to Fatima Spar's unique voice with the Jazzorchester Vorarlberg is like hearing her again for the first time.

Music lovers have long been familiar with Fatima Spar's unique voice. Still, listening to her new project with the Jazzorchester Vorarlberg is like hearing her again for the first time. She may float, growl and preach in her usual manner but this is no Eastern­inflected swing music the way she's sung it for years with her band, The Freedom Fries: this is something new.

Originally, the idea was to make a Turkish­language swing album – but in early discussions it quickly became clear that the project could be much more than that. And so the wheels began to turn: in a matter of months, Fatima Spar and her longtime artistic collaborator, Philipp Moosbrugger, wrote a brand new program of music; composer/arranger Philip Yaeger adapted it for the Jazzorchester Vorarlberg and before long the 16­piece big band found itself in an almost­forgotten vintage studio in Liechtenstein and the record was made.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that the golden age of big bands is mostly past but this project proves just the opposite: the album draws from minimalism, electronic music, rhythm & blues and jazz, incorporating the best of modern music as well as time­honored big band conventions. The ensemble is exciting and flexible, ranging from reserved intimacy to rambunctious exultation – and over it all wafts the flexible, unmistakable voice of Fatima Spar.

The sold­out premiere last December at Spielboden in Dornbirn was met with great excitement by both audience and critics; the CD Fatima Spar and the Jazzorchester Vorarlberg will be released in autumn–but a pre­release concert on June 6, 2014 at the Jazz Festival Bregenz will offer one more chance to experience the fruits of this remarkable collaboration live and in person. – py


 

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Photo © Martin Dudek 2013.

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