Saturday performance in Alpine MDF Theatre, from Berlin: Carsten Daerr on piano, Oliver Potratz on bass, Eric Schaeffer on drums

I’m not sure how Daerr introduced the opening piece, Dumpelh, but later his explanation of the title seemed close to “becalmed”. He seemed to mean it when he said we were “a really nice audience” and “I’m proud and glad to be here now”. Daerr’s engaging personality shone through the set of originals — it was easy to warm to this trio. Their energy impressed in Manila, which was followed by Phantomsz, then the classically influenced Intuition (“inspired by a little child playing on my piano at home, only using the white keys, experimenting with the 12-tone scale”). The trio’s obsession with photography was given expression in the developing rhythms of Full Aperture.

Baby Levi, dedicated to Daerr’s baby nephew, opened beautifully, with the piano again contributing a classical feel, Potratz’s bowed bass providing rhythmic underpinning and Schaeffer’s drums giving strength. Daerr briefly played a melodica a la Erik Griswold, which added dimension. Next came Potratz’s composition Templo, inspired by a visit the previous year to Mexico City, where Christians built a church on the site of an Aztec temple in a bid to capture the energy of the place. The set closed with Innen (Inside), Daerr bending in to tap the piano strings and using a small cymbal or bell, Schaeffer applying the end of a drumstick to a cymbal and Potratz using his bow. It was a gradual build-up before they really got into it.

I left wondering what had contributed to my enjoyment of the set. This was a polished, energetic group with a friendly approach. They did not take themselves too seriously. They enjoyed playing and let it show. And Daerr in particular had loads of style, yet avoided in any way appearing to be full of his abilities. I’m a sucker for style in politics, so was I impressed for that reason? Or was it because I’d arrived on a high from hearing Nock & Schauble? Well, these factors probably had an effect (these days many would say “impacted”), but there was more to it. These guys could play, they were inventive, light and amusing without being frivolous or insubstantial. Endearing sums it up.

Pics to come

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