BEJE performed at the Bristol Music Club, a venerable institution, as part of its long-established series of chamber music, on Tuesday January 10th 2017. Though there have been occasional jazz concerts booked there at other times this was the first time ‘chamber jazz’ had been accepted as a sub genre of ‘chamber music’. The stipulation was to play entirely acoustically, so even Paolo Adamo’s drums let alone David Mowat’s trumpet and Federico Leonori’s sonorous bass played to the level of Knud Stuwe’s oud and his nylon strong cut away acoustic guitar (ironically designed with a direct input for an amp). Concert Secretary Dick Little commented:
BEJE at BRISTOL MUSIC CLUB
Recently Beje, represented by David Mowat (trumpet), Knud Stuwe (guitar and oud), Federico Leonori (double bass) and Paolo Adamo (drums) played Bristol Music Club, an audience perhaps more accustomed to listening to classical string quartets than a jazz group – but undeterred, Beje got on with what they do best, easy, relaxed playing that comes from long association and total enjoyment of what they do.
They gave us a wide-ranging programme, partly following the pilgrimage that David himself had made, on foot and at times quite alone, from Bristol to Jerusalem. We travelled to Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, and from mountains high above the Mediterranean to the Somerset Levels, David’s own music responding to the styles of music that he met as he journeyed and engaged directly with the people he encountered along the way. There was superb playing with some great solos – David’s wonderfully smooth trumpet, intricate patterns from Knud on both his instruments, and a magnificent duet which had Federico and Paolo vying to outdo one another with ever more energetic and ambitious feats which the audience could not resist, at last bursting out, however diffidently, with admiring applause.
This was a captivating performance, propelled forward even through the pauses within melodies by an impeccable sense of rhythm. One ‘gentle ambient piece’ from the Balkans was a Dance for Timshel, Timshel being Hope in the face of how things are. We had felt very much aware of that vital hope during this exhilarating evening of playing, which was both sensitively lyrical and full of zest.