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Cool Cats at BBIS

Thursday, 17 November, 2016

On 16 November, the BBIS Music department and the co-curricular instrumental programme with support from the Parent-Teacher Association hosted a jazz concert and workshop.

Students studying Music as part of their Diploma programme were joined by enthusiasts from Grades 9 & 10, as well as staff and parents. Three of our instrumental tutors - Johannes Haage (guitar), Joe Smith (drums) and Ben Kraefe (tenor saxophone) were joined by Hammond organ maestro Lutz Krajenski for what was a hugely educational workshop and wonderfully entertaining performance in the MPR. Grade 12 student, Jan von Stein, got up and played with the quartet, a rendition of All The Things You Are.

The highlight of the workshop was the 25-minute guided tour of the Hammond Organ by Lutz, who is not only a virtuoso player but also collects and repairs these amazing instruments. We learned they were invented in 1920s America to supply churches that could not afford a 'real' church organ, but soon became a staple instrument in jazz and popular music ensembles. One has to be highly dexterous, as the left foot plays bass lines on a two-octave pedal board, the right foot controls a volume pedal and the hands operate not just two keyboard manuals but also a host of other stops and controls. Next to the organ itself stands a large wooden speaker cabinet with revolving speakers. The sound is phenomenal and cannot be reproduced by computers!

In the evening the quartet played an intense and powerful set, demonstrating great communication and invention, and transformed the humble MPR into a jazz club for an hour.

Many thanks to the PTA for the supporting grant, and to Johannes for organizing the whole thing.

Martin Milner
Teacher of Music