On Sunday morning the Shanghai Jazz Orchestra played for a full house in the Shanghai Concert Hall. It was a very special concert, because not only it was broadcasted live on Chinese radio and TV, but also because conductor and band leader Rolf Becker had composed several works from W.A. Mozart for a big band! The reason: this year is Mozart’s 250th birth year.
The result was absolutely unique. Imagine the beginning of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik being played by the strings, and then suddenly the big band kicks in on the same tune. Amazing. The Chinese presenter asked the audience twice for its opinion (by clapping their hands), and almost everybody loved the combination of classical music and jazz.
But Rolf even went one step further by also putting some latin influences in this. One of the percussionists (Felix) grabbed the microphone and literally jumped off stage into the audience singing and dancing. I had never seen something like this before, and the stunned (mainly) Chinese audience neither. But Felix got a big round of applause for his daring performance!
If you would have liked to see this concert but missed it, you have a second chance. On May 7 the Shanghai Jazz Orchestra will perform this concert again in the concert hall in the Shanghai Center (Ritz Carlton Hotel) on Nanjing Xi Lu. And if you also want to see some of the performers in a different setting: every Friday night after 10 PM they play a combination of latin and jazz in the J Z club (Fuxing Lu / Ulumuqi Lu).
I attended the Shanghai Jazz Orchestra’s concert,a new year event few months ago. I think it was the same conductor: Rolf Becker. It was the greatest concert that I’ve been at up till now.