Badische Zeitung Thursday 11 December 2008
A Hot Flirt with Many Styles
Léah Kline offered seductive variety with her voice.
“Juzzflirtin” was the name of the band who made a guest appearance on Friday evening in the Lörracher Jazztone. The name sounds erotic and didn’t promise too much either. This five member band formed around pianist Dirk Balthaus flirted musically with a whole lot of styles, which they connected into a sensuous whole. Each piece displayed jazz naturally as well as large portions of Latin rhythms, funk grooves and pop melodies. In the middle of this 24 karat sounding band stood the singer Léah Kline with her marvelous Alto voice. The American living-in-Amsterdam, whose roots were with theatre and musical, and who wrote also most of the song lyrics, told stories in an expressive and feeling-stressed manner. The music of “Juzzflirtin” was very much rhythm-oriented. This reflected the formation of the band, because beside the Drummer Sebastiaan Kaptein, who laid down a loosely groovin’ Beat, there was also Percussionist Yuchi C—rdoba who provided the rhythmic basis. With play-joy and passion these two complemented each other in the best way. Additionally, Cord Heineking at the Contrabass was actively into the Grove, at times with a loose Swing, at times with a thick Funk. Dirk Balthaus, as Bandleader and a composer of numerous songs, was with his bright, dynamic and light-handed playing on the grand piano not only a marvelous companion for Léah Kline’s singing, but also a Storyteller of his own class.
The musical range of “Juzzflirtin” was astonishing. Classical jazz numbers, which the singer inspired with perfect technique and phrasing, stood beside Latin American pieces, which came over merrily, and nearly danceable. Beautiful ballads like “I am a butterfly” showed the expressive variety of Léah Klines voice, while Dirk Balthaus eased out deeply felt dynamic arches and Cord Heineking sparkled with a fascinating bass-solo. The singer and the musicians succeeded again a deep feeling and urgency in Pat Methenys “Minuano”.
With ” I just want somebody to talk to” in the program, a catchy mainstream – hit parade – like number, they showed they had no fear of contact with pop music either. A completely different side appeared with “The Wizard”, an expressionistic music piece over the after effects of a night of carousing. With her expression-strong performance Léah Kline proved here exceptionally clearly her theatre experience and gave in the center section a speech singing, which was vaguely reminiscent of Laurie Anderson. Then on to a heavy groove number like the one about the sheep skin disguised wolves of the American west coast with their exaggerated but insincere friendliness – a piece with a recurring theme, which was quite nearly a Rock riff
.An erotic and exciting, diverse and musically refined offering.
” Juzzflirtin” a wonderful concert!
Author: Thomas Loisl Mink