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Band Jazz Pop


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"Irresistible Creative Power"

By inviting the singer Chinaza and her band the Jazz-friends of Dahn added their first climax to a series of exceptional concerts in the season of 2009/2010. A rather sophisticated audience was well-nigh enchanted by a stylist in any respect self-contained.

For Chinaza's band consisting of Sebastian Weiss (piano), Alfred Mehnert (percussions), Emanuel Hauptmann (drums) and Scott White (bass), the classification of jazz as a genre only works in the sense that jazz actually is able to blend divergent styles, harmonies, melodies or phrasings in such a way, that at the end of the day one would automatically perceive it as “Jazz”. In Chinaza's own case we are dealing with a captivating harmonious mélange of pop elements, harmonies that remind of Ravel and Debussy, the pulse of Africa and the groove of post-modern jazz. This disparate mixture is kept together by the exceptional, artistic authority and the voice of Chinaza.
To illustrate the musical impact of this singer, one perhaps has to refer to one or the other styled picture of her circulating on the internet, demonstrating her as an adorable spiffed-up cutie. Chinaza is none of that. The proud woman and independent artist, whose role models rather would be Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell or Ella Fitzgerald, could be better associated with that musician one experienced in Dahn.
Together with her band she plays mostly original material, which in a harmonic sense commemorates Joni Mitchell's “Don Juan's reckless Daughter” of 1977 a bit – but this serves at best as a superficial aid for orientation. Since the centre of music is Chinaza's voice, which always dominates the band – as appealing as it may be. Rarely one gets the impression that between the soloist and her group existed a mutual exchange, in fact it seems like all the energy came exclusively from the singer herself and was somehow transferred to her musicians. Chinaza possesses two instruments at the same time: her voice and her band.
The creative power and the stylistic self-confidence of this great artist becomes very clear with arrangements of foreign material. Nik Kershaws “Wouldn't It Be Good” loses all of its pop-musical innocence, which adhered to the seemingly nice melody and which covers the bitter content of the text in a sly way. Chinaza does not accept any shallowness or ambiguities. Even more obvious – irresistibly in its power of interpretation is Chinaza's version of Nina Simone's “Four Women”, one of the most bitter accusations of the exploitation of women ever known in music. Chinaza's intense art, which is hard to top, does not accept any release.
Chinaza dominates the events to such an extent that one almost misses the first-class band supporting her. Without wanting to derogate or underestimate the contributions of her bassist, Chinaza's music would hardly lose anything from her emotional power, if only the piano, drums and percussions were available. Even though Sebastian Weiss takes over the position of the musical director, who even keeps a clear view in the biggest jostle, two real painters unfold their mastery at the drums and the percussions. When in all times would the term “enchanting” fit to the play on drums and cymbals? - Rheinlandpfalz Newspaper Germany





Chinaza born Nkechinyere Chinaza Ekpere Mbakwe did not start singing professionally before graduating from university. She grew up in Germany to refugees of the Biafran Civil War in Nigeria. After spending the year 2001 in New York she sang backups for people like Joy Denalane, Hattler, Della Miles, Katja Riemann, BANTU or Mo' Horizons. Up to today Chinaza is working together with Mike Cinnamon on her vocal technique. In 2006 she put out her first solo album CHANGES. It is definitely about time for something new. So, don't miss her second album called HOME. It will be out on February 18th 2011.

Today Chinaza is living in between Berlin and Lagos trying to blend both influences into her sound never totally deviating from her first love named Jazz.