Lulo Reinhardt & Andre Krengel playing the Soundhouse Residency at the Traverse Theatre was a rare chance to catch up with two of the best and most distinctively styled acoustic guitarists in the world playing together as part of the “Lulo Reinhardt and Andre Krengel Quartet”.
Andre Krengel is a musician who can play in any style that he wants to and somehow make it his own sound, and Lulo Reinhardt of course claims by birthright one of the most influential names and sounds in modern guitar and jazz history. As if that is not enough, this quartet also has master drummer percussionist Uli Ragusi Krämer (playing alongside Lulo for 24 years now) and one of the most innovative bass players that I have heard for a long time - Konstantin Wienstroer (playing alongside Andre now for 11 years).
When you have musicians of this standard who are all happy to improvise where needed as they go along with whatever way the music is taking them (as only musicians who know each other very well can do), then you know that something special is going to happen on stage...particularly when Lulo announces from the very start “We do no cover music”.
Music tonight was a mixture of solo material from Lulo and Andre as well as collaborative music from their latest album “Live @ Neidecks Vol. 2.”, and the set opened with Lulo’s “Mar Di Sol”. From Andre, the lovely story of how “Oma Mucki “ became dedicated to his late grandmother.
Lulo and Andre seem to instinctively understand one another’s style, phrasing and timing and if anything, they work a bit like colours constantly changing and blending into one another, and songs from the latest album “Hotel de Paris”, “Milwood Reeta” and “Our Land “ are a few examples of how they both paint musical pictures with those colours.
Both Andre and Lulo take many influences from around the world into their playing and the two sets tonight blended together musical styles from many parts of the globe. Lulo by his own words loves to blend styles together mixing African, European, Cuban and Indian references together to form unique sounds. This was particularly evident at the free style improvisational encore of "Asia" as Uli Ragusi Krämer gets to explore his talents in full to create an evocative soundscape .
Lulo Reinhardt has also been working on a film project called “Desert Inspiration”, and the little music we heard tonight from this film has probably put the project on many people’s “watch list” when it gets a full release.
Lulo and Andre are both gifted and technically brilliant musicians, but somehow they have both avoided that trap that some musicians can fall into of trading the attainment of technical perfection over the feeling of the music itself. Both these musicians (plus Uli and Konstantin) have a genuine love of their music and the pleasure this brings to them is something that they pass onto their audience. This was a warm and friendly night of music, not a cold display of musical skills (as can sometimes happen). Genuine warmth and affection between music, musicians and audience.
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Review by Tom King