Marcus Miller – take two

The first time I saw Marcus Miller live was in Utrecht, Netherlands, with a colleague of mine who also played bass and was into jazz. It was a great concert, with Miller chatting with the audience, in a relaxed atmosphere.

The second time was last week, during the Istanbul Jazz Festival.

The concert was very strange in the beginning. The geniuses of jazz, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter got on stage, started playing. In the full Cemil Topuzlu open air theater, the audience sat there, and listened. But with no apparent connection, or enjoyment. I found myself telling my mother that Marcus Miller was much more connected to the audience in Utrecht, and this felt really strange. She had also saw Marcus Miller live before, and agreed.

And then it came. Half an hour into the concert, they took their time, Marcus said hello, and there it was. Miller and Hancock talked about Miles Davis, his music, and how their tribute was to his whole life, rather than his songs or a specific period. They complimented the Istanbul Jazz Festival audience and continued. And the rest of the concert was a blast. The audience was crazy for the music, the band enjoyed it, and it was a great tribute to Miles Davis.

Add to this the dinner at Quick China in Nişantaşı, and the walk back with the newly redone pedestrian area around CT theater, it was a great evening.

This whole think made me rethink about my not-yet-theory-level thoughts on interactions with audience in a previous blog-post. I think that a concert experience is better with good interaction, but there are always exceptions (like Jonsi or Explosions in the Sky) where very little interaction doesn’t diminish the awesomeness of the experience.

Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny

When my father pointed out that there was an opera festival at the same time as when I was in Istanbul, I thought “huh?”. It turns out it is the second annual Istanbul Opera Festival, bringing together several different companies and operas to various Istanbul stages throughout July. The overall programme of the festival is rather safe; Entführung aus dem Serrail, Tosca, L’italiana in Algeria. What took me by surprise was Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, produced by State Opera Gärtnerplatz in München. The Kurt Weill & Bertolt Brecht opera was an odd choice, considering not many people would be interested in seeing it (as in it is not your typical harmony filled Mozart opera and opera isn’t exactly a flourishing genre in Turkey).

So, of course, got tickets, and went to Rumeli Castle, a stage that is not at all professionally ready to be a stage on many levels. Definitely not ready for an opera production, with a hand crafted backstage, awkward and dark stage entrances, horrible (late) audience management, the venue somehow managed. So did the orchestra and the Choir of State Opera Gärtnerplatz. In the end, it was a great production, a rare opportunity to watch a Weill/Brecht opera.

Plus, now I know where the Alabama Song (whiskey bar) comes from.