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FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG REVIEW

WITH A RAISED VOICE

“With a raised voice – Nani Vazana is an accomplished artist who masters all the African-American nuances and variable phrasing as stylistically confident as the intricate rhythms and pulsating riffs, for example in “Feeling Good” and “I Put A Spell On You”, with which she opened the concert on her earthy trombone. 

It is remarkable how instinctively she shaped the rollercoaster of emotions in ballads such as “Four Women” and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”, accompanying herself on the piano, without missing Simone’s exuberance of feeling. 

Vazana is an open and inclined entertainer who delighted the audience in her scatting melismas and even put on some dance moves on some songs. The enthusiastic audience didn’t want to let her go, and called her back for 3 encores”.

Link to original review (in German)

Full article:

“Nina Simone was strong. Resolute, too. And angry. To society and its injustices, to men and their selfishness. That is, she was also angry with particularly selfish women. Namely, to lovers who had the pleasure and left everyday life to their wives. Just listen to the song “The Other Woman”. No gender comes off well. However, as fiercely as she was angry, she could also love deeply. Her passion in “Ne me quitte pas” dwarfs even the longing pleas of Jacques Brel. Nina Simone from North Carolina, who lived in France before her death in 2003, was a close-looking, sharply articulate singer. And a colossal pianist who could ignite a firestorm with her ten fingers and two fists. She has been called the “High Priestess of Soul” and “Icon of the Civil Rights Movement”. She is more modest and far better than her colleague, bassist Meshell Ndegeocello, who is a bassist.

No serious artist would attempt to copy such an unmistakable singing. But many great musicians, such as Angélique Kidjo, Lizz Wright and Dianne Reeves, have paid homage to Simone, who is as fascinating as she is unapproachable. Now also the singer, pianist, trombonist and songwriter Noam “Nani” Vazana at the concert of the series “Fabrik aus Haus” in the Alte Seilerei. Born in Jerusalem with Moroccan roots and living in Holland, the Israelite is no stranger to Frankfurt. In 2023, she could be heard at the Alte Oper, where she presented her original songs, which she had written in Ladino, the ancient language of Sephardic Jews, spoken only by a few.

Now she had arrived with songs that are so strongly connected to Simone’s pathos and commitment that one could be curious to see how her oriental-sounding vocal style would change the original character. Vazana is, of course, an accomplished artist who masters all the African-American nuances and variable phrasing as stylistically confident as the intricate rhythms and pulsating riffs, for example in “Feeling Good” and “I Put A Spell On You”, with which, accompanied by her Finnish pianist, she opened the concert on her earthy trombone. It is remarkable how instinctively she shaped the rollercoaster of emotions in ballads such as “Four Women” and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”, accompanying herself on the piano, without missing Simone’s exuberance of feeling.

Simone was an uncompromising musician without show elements, focused solely on the musical core of the songs. Vazana seems more open and more inclined to entertainment with her scat melismas and short step interludes, at least on high heels. So be it. In any case, the enthusiastic audience did not want to set off one interpretation against the other.”

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