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ClassicsOnline Home » NADA: Panta Rhei
Vocal jazz is about to be turned on its head. From Germany comes the impressive unit of four singers, bass and drums, called Nada - not meaning nothing, they actually derived the name from the Sankrit word for "sound." Their recording debut, Panta Rei, is a distinctive project that takes jazz music into territories rarely approached by contemporary vocal performers.
Founded in 1998, Nada was started by soprano and Munich-native Bettina Koziol. A classically trained oratory singer, she expanded her studies to jazz in 1995. Although she is responsible for working out most of the compositions and is the group's music director, Nada is far from a one woman show. What they are is a thoroughly modern ensemble of six.
Fueling this inspired and motivated group are also the contributions from its five other dedicated members. Merit Ostermann is also a classically educated opera and musical singer. Beate Simpson, from Nuremberg, is well-versed in styles from pop, blues, jazz to cabaret. Braunschweig's Martin Klingberg is described as an impetuous trumpeter and vocalist. American drummer Bill Elgart worked in the new jazz scene of New York with Carla Bley, Sam Rivers, John Tchcai and Paul Bley before moving to Europe in 1976. Munich jazz bassist Martin Zenker is well known throughout the German jazz scene and is a member of the group Ugetsu. Together these six musicians form the contemporary vocal music unit called Nada.
Consciously dispensing of harmony instruments in order to underline the transparency and sensitivity of the works, Nada transports the tradition of Acapella to the next millenium. Recorded over a three-week period in October, 2000, Panta Rei is a distillation of Nada's vocal Avant Garde into a higher enjoyable recording that is fresh and compelling, a synergy of the pop/jazz/classical genres blended with improvisation. As a fitting paradigm of the process, the tracks reflect the passion, agonies, emotions and triumphs encountered on this journey of pain, glory, love and inner searching.
That psychological and stylistic exploration is evident on every track of Panta Rei. Highlights include the ironic swing of 'Another Bossa Nova', the driving harmonics in 'Mirrors' or the sultry blues of the title track 'Panta Rei'. Also, there is a daring cover of Dan Hicks' 'I Scare Myself', which was a hit for pop star Thomas Dolby several years ago. Another cover is 'North Star' which is a tune written by ex-King Crimson leader Robert Fripp and Daryl Hall.
Besides their own compositions and covers, Nada has inspired such renowned German composers as Peter Fulda, Oli Bott and Achim Wagner to work with them. Tracks like 'Serena', 'Inside Me', and 'Out Of Her Mind' are the direct result of these collaborations. Beyond the standard and the routine, Nada travels a path of virtuosity collecting inspirations from diverse and disparate sources, blended with their own impeccable sense of improvisation.
With Panta Rei, Nada has made a hypnotic gem, one you can listen over and over again. And with each such visit, it will yield greater and deeper treasures. Vocal jazz music may never be the same again.
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NADA: Panta Rhei