GETTING IT RIGHT - BROKEN BEAUTY - BRASS ATTACK
Music as a vehicle for lyric, particularly the brittle, brisk burlesque, the socially critical philosophy of a Bertolt Brecht has to be found and felt intuitively. The Bertolt Brecht & Kurt Weill interpretations of the past, those would-be Pavarottois, the vain attempts to tread water between opera and operette, even the smooth big band sound with girly choruses and violins in the background appropriate to Gershwin or Cole Porter - were all more or less noble attempts. Brecht once turned down an actor because „…he sings too well!”
BRASS ATTACK is not an attempt. It’s a success fous. Thomas Bergmann and his horns get it right. Off the cuff. A firstling of the hand that’s a firstling of the heart. German musicians who interpret a German librettist and a German composer with that uncanny perception born of a shared culture and that love for jazz, swing and the sound of big, bad, brass brought by musician G.I.s to post war Europe - the Europe in which Brecht-Weill songs received enormous trans-Atlantic acclaim. That’s why it’s also not an accident that the drummer is Joshua Tinwa, who brings that there funky groove from his birth place, the Cameroons. And he’s supported not by a bass player - that would be too simple - but the guy on the tuba, Stefan Gocht!
When Louis Armstrong or Ella Fitzgerald began to sing „Oh, the shark has / pearly teeth, dear…” it made people sit up - in Tokyo, Trivandrum or Texas. But there’s more to Brecht-Weill than the hit, Mackie Messer; it’s the challenging and rare, broken beauty of all these songs.
That’s why the singers on this album don’t just sing. They spit, they bite out, they lilt, they translate these words into passion. Because they were quite apparently born to the act. All three of them are theatre people. And Brecht’s lyrics are drama: ironic, sardonic, bitter-sweet - and real. No moon-in-June crooning here. Tanja and Celina come’n get you. Le Diseur Deserable, Maza let’s you have it.
With the flavour of life on his tongue…and life is a bitch…à la Brecht-Weill.