Bakken & Muthspiel - daily mirror
Voice and Passion
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 3/28/2001
Some of the best concerts still happen in front of a small audience. Maybe it is the inspiring intimacy of the small circle that contributes to artistic flights. On the other hand Daily Mirror is still a hyped secret that the masses of consumers are not ready for. However, Daily Mirror was an event.
It has been a long time since we have heard a singer like Rebekka Bakken in Germany, who deals with all aspects of musical expression in such a superior way. At her concert in Bayerische Hof, the young Norwegian succeeds not only in singing her songs, but also in dramtatizing them with all naturalness and professionalism at the same time. Song by song, she changes character, extracts moods out of the logic of the text, the music and her own person. Bakken directed dialogs, told stories, played with the posibilities of her voice, ranging from the belcanto to the bittersweet blues of disappointed passion. What can seem pretentious on others beomes the natural artistic expression in her.
Every Detail made sense and became an important part of the whole. Because Bakken was accompanied by an outstanding Quintet around guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel and the American saxophonist Chris Cheek, which framed the Scandinavian singer in the most perfectly arranged way. And she had astonishingly original songs at her disposal that seemed to offer the ideal musical shape to illustrate the stories of urban daily life. A thrilling concert that convinced us in every respect. RESPECT.
Love at second sight
Tagesanzeiger Zürich, 12/15/2000
Good Popmusic happens when the listener seems to know the music but is still surprised by it constantly. Rebekka Bakken is an outstanding Popsinger, although she is not really known here yet. Maybe that has to do with the fact that Rebekka Bakken and Wolfgang Muthspiel, who wrote most of the music, have high standards: and those are sometimes not too good for business.
The lyrics, most of the written by the Austrian poet Bernd Hagg, tell short stories of daily life. Stories with small unexpected twists, in which the unfamiliar waits until someone notices it.
Wolfgang Muthspiel, the 35-year-old New York resident from Austria has written outstanding music to these texts. Seemingly simple and light, between Jazz and Folk, sometimes like a chanson, sometimes a little more rocking. One is constantly surprised by the refined craftsmanship, the moving melodies and the exact arrangements.
Muthspiel as well as saxophonist Chris Cheek, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Ari Hoenig are all Jazzmusicians, who usually practice their art in a quite different musical context.
They do not loose their strong presence, even when they are sometimes functioning simply as a backup band. They keep a strong interactive force going and shine in short solos, avoiding cliches.
And of course Rebekka Bakken: The Norwegian has an extremely clear, flexible voice, one seems to know quickly till it surprises you with yet another timbre. Her magic works slowly on the listener, her charisma grows on you. But even that is a rare pleasure in times where most stars have gone down before they have really started to shine.
THE POSITIVE SURPRISE
Aftenposten, Oslo Puls 7/6/2001
A big positive surprise during Kongsberg Jazz festival is the vocalist Rebekka Bakken
"Prophet in the hometown"
Beautiful words had been flying through the air and our country in our consciousness before our meeting with Rebekka Bakken, turned home to her dear Buskerud from New York. A metropolis where the young Bakken got fired as a waitress since she obviously was out of competence withe the service tray and thereby broke more porcelain than the restaurant owner could see worth while. But who counts the lost battles on the day of victory?
Her studio debut last year resulted in a CD together with the guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel. The album has opened many doors, and Wednesday evening, the girl from Buskerud proved wrong the biblical conviction about the impossibilty in becoming a prophet in one’s own home.
Today Rebekka Bakken sees little reason to mourn over her past little failure with the braking of cups and glasses. She showed herself instead in "Smeltehytta" on Kongsberg as a true equilibrist in the juggling with harminies and rhythms. The only thing she broke Wednesday evening was the hearts of the audience members.
...But it was in Smeltehytta that we felt we came closer to the nucleus of jazz: the deep engagement.
SHINING JAZZ DEBUT
Drammens Tidende 7/5/2001
It is something special when Cinderealla-stories happen for real. The young vocalist Rebekka Bakken is born and raised in Lier, but must have vocalyy been born again during her few years in New York.
Courageously going for her own talent and hard work has led to recognition and the first CD. Something totally different is to debut at the country’s most highly merited jazz festival, with her own concert tragically paralleled to the official opening concert. This review will therefore be based on the last part of the concert.
With a young quartet led by guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel, Rebekka Bakken served a unique kind of jazz without borders. The music gives in a surprising way whoelness to different genre; as well pop as renaissance pastiches integrates in an expression that comes forth sounding both communicating and freshly unpredictable.
A direct sound picture with young musicians that obviously are less concerned with studio polish than the honest, real and spontaneous, never the less melodic and accessible, with frequent shifts in tempo, language and expression. The musical language is not experimental, but the group plays fearlessly with all possibilities and creates a communication that is fresh an absolutely interesting.
Rebekka Bakken has a rich voice, with a great register, and seems convincingly sure both technically and musically. A warm stage presence and engagement of the audience unifies with an elegance that makes her sparkle like an unpolished diamond.
The music and the musicians contain everything of what new jazz needs to make the audience open their ears. Courage, competence and a strong mind towards creating something new and unique.