Festival │29.-31. Oktober 2021

Nicole Johänntgen [sax] + Simon Oslender [p] │Thierry Lang [p] + Heiri Känzig [b] + Matthieu Michel [fh]│TONBRUKETr]

The first eastPLUGGED® Festival: 3 days, 3 aphorisms, 3 spectacular concerts, 9 great musicians, many nice people and "fresh wind under the wings for the cultural future" would be our conclusion, in detail:

Each concert day was opened with an aphorism of a "Crane Trilogy" by the host, Pastor Thomas Gerhold. This was about community, good technique and support, 3 terms whose symbiotic implementation to achieve the highest quality and satisfaction could be experienced immediately afterwards during all three concert days.

The festival was opened with a solo program of the German saxophonist Nicole Johänntgen and her piece "unter dem Sternenhimmel". Thereby Nicole filled the sound space of the Friedenskirche - coming out of the room - with manifold new sound variations, partly meditative, partly rhythmical, sometimes subtle, sometimes offensive. A wonderfully relaxing and exciting prelude.

Cologne based pianist, organist and keyboard player Simon Oslender, already an internationally sought-after band member at the age of 23 (with Wolfgang Haffner, Randy Brecker, Bill Evans, among others), had built a "castle" of keyboard instruments around him to perform his first public solo in the 2nd set of this evening, dominated by his own compositions, partly developed especially for our festival, combining electronic elements (delays, loops) of keyboard and Hammond organ wonderfully with acoustic sounds of the Steinway grand piano.

eastPLUGGED® wouldn't be eastPLUGGED® if there weren't always surprises in addition to outstanding international musicians, this time in the 3rd set of Day 1, for which Simon Oslender and Nicole Johänntgen, who had met only a few hours earlier at the sound check, met in a jam session. Free improvisation (or, as Nicole put it: "going naked"), innovative reinterpretations of standards (such as Sonny Rollin's 1956 piece "St. Thomas") or a spontaneous new piece entitled "Ratingen" inspired the players on stage at least as much as the euphoric audience.

Musically, the 2nd day was dominated by 3 outstanding Swiss musicians. With his soft, accentuated touch, pianist Thierry Lang succeeded in generating a very special brilliance of sound from the grand piano. Heiri Känzig is one of the few bass players, who can already convince solo; in the trio he embedded the tonal range of this instrument (with alphorn sounds "Swiss Mountain Smell" to string passages "Tender Waltz" ) in a total work of art, as did Mathieu Michel with his sometimes subtle, sometimes fanfare-like playing on the flugelhorn. 3 very different musicians, 3 very different instruments, which complemented each other "on one level" to a very harmonious and nevertheless innovative musical overall picture, whereby everyone also set percussive accents with his instrument.

The final day of the festival presented TONBRUKET: Dan Berglund [bass], Johan Lindström (electric guitar and pedal steel guitar, ), Martin Hederos (acoustic and electronic keyboards, violin) and Gard Nilssen [drums] made the brick walls of the Friedenskirche "vibrate" and the "sound factory" convinced from the beginning to the end: From neo-classical to rock, from folk to jazz, in almost every piece there were echoes of different musical styles; from (very) quiet to (very) loud, from (almost) timid to (really) groovy; with diverse instruments in different combinations, the quartet thrilled the great Ratingen audience for the second time after 2017. It was an evening full of emotions: in the band, with the organizers and in the audience.

A thousand thanks, Merci, tack så mycket & tusen takk to Nicole, Simon, Thierry, Heiri, Matthieu, Dan, Johan, Martin & Gard!