Jazz musicians mesmerise audience with classic tunes

Published December 4, 2022
Jazz musicians Rodrigo Aravena and Simon Wyrsch entertain guests at the Swiss ambassador’s residence in Islamabad. — White Star
Jazz musicians Rodrigo Aravena and Simon Wyrsch entertain guests at the Swiss ambassador’s residence in Islamabad. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: The Late Night Cats Band on Friday evening enthralled listeners with a combination of 50s and the 60s jazz music with a touch of contemporary aesthetics.

Simon Wyrsch played the traditional clarinet and received an amazing response from the audience. Rodrigo Aravena played the bass guitar; the tunes emanated soul and funk.

Ambassador of Switzerland Georg Steiner was the gracious host for the memorable evening featuring the band, live at his beautiful residence embellished with sloping lawns and fountains.

Unfortunately, the duo missed their lead guitar player Beat Baumli, who could not perform because he was ill. Rodrigo Aravena had a dual role as he played the bass and guitar, providing a bit of harmony and improvisation.

“It was a little bit scary but I think we did a good job,” said Rodrigo Aravena who comes from a family of musicians and has been playing bass guitar for 34 years. He started playing drums when he was little, picking up the saxophone in high school and then switched to bass guitar before school finished.

Soul, funk, blues and jazz music from the Americas, influenced him to pick up the bass guitar. “I love 60s jazz – Miles Davis and the Messengers, even pop music,” he said.

The band would also be performing at the music festival being held at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA).

Clarinet player Simon Wyrsch said he would love for people to come and enjoy jazz music at the festival. “Music is the best diplomatic tool. I do not speak Urdu but I can connect with people through music,” he said, adding that he has been playing the clarinet for too long.

He said if he had not been playing the clarinet, he would have been a piano player. The performance was an effort towards uniting people through musical diplomacy. It was an intimate and tender, harmonically lush clarinet and bass guitar concert, heavily inspired by the music of the world, blurred by electronic effects but always clear in its melodic intent. Mesmerised by their art were a small but global audience – the ambassadors of Sweden, Bulgaria, Kenya among others and some local guests.

Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2022

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