Amiable World Jazz

Text: Storm Bakker | Photo's: Nico Brons

On Saturday it was the turn of three formations in which the wind instruments were central. Firstly it was Efe Erdem Three4, the latest project of the Turkish trombonist, living and working in Rotterdam. The heavily bearded band leader distinguishes himself with a mix of classical music from the 18th century and contemporary grooves, at least that is what he says in his linernotes beforehand. Also the jazz critics are continuously stating highly about the young musician and we therefore sat in front of the screen with great anticipation...

After a smooth announcement by Bart Wirtz, describing Erdem as "a real product of the multicultural city of Rotterdam”, the cuddly trombonist conducts his band through the first passages of a 3/4 followed by a chromatic line. The music is performed well and the band sounds great. Erdem reveals himself as a warm personality on stage, not afraid to crack a cheerful note now and then. His string quartet visibly enjoys his energy.

On bass guitar we discover Glenn Gaddum Jr. as a substitute for the original bass player. It is always a pleasure to see and hear the fusion virtuoso at work. This evening, it turns out that Gaddum is able to play functionally, without showing off and wanting to prove that he is the best. Maybe it would have been a good idea to grant him some more ad libitums . Erdem is the only soloist in the company and where a day earlier Odelion surprised with solos by different wind players, Three4 continues to lean on the promptings of its leader.

Overall, the band plays amiable World Jazz with a subtle, groovy twist. Not really heavy or reaching for the extreme, more light and easy, almost as if Erdem is afraid to scare the girls away from the party. In some passages the arrangements are less adventurous and progressive than we expected; the wrinkles are smoothed out and the rhythm section remains a bit flat. In those places it leans more towards intelligent soft pop, such as the slow song "Untold Emotions" that oscillates back and forth for minutes between a mol-dur chord to the major tonic chord. At these moments we were praying in vain for a thunderbolt in a clear sky, a kind of Miles Davis like agression, some jazzpunk thing that woould surprise, shock or even mislead the listeners. Maybe next time, because the Turk has certainly potential, his musicians are out-standing and his concept of mixing classical music from the 18th century with contemporary grooves, is in itself a nice plan.


Efe Erdem Three4 live at Amersfoort Jazz 2020 © photo by Nico Brons | Amersfoort Jazz

Efe Erdem Thrree4_photo by Nico Brons | Amersfoort Jazz