Tuesday, October 6, 2009: Berklee being present. Being in the world. Carrying the torch this time is the Patrick Kunka Quartet. This quartet is made up of Patrick Kunka ’09 on drums, Leah Gough-Cooper ’09 on alto and soprano saxophones, and current students Alan Benzie on piano and Dylan Coleman-Tunstall on bass. Location: Nancy, France. Event: Nancy Jazz Pulsations (NJP). October 2009.
Another British Quartet – Familiar Routine
Through an exchange program between Berklee College of Music and Music Academy International (MAI)—a Berklee International Network (BIN) partner—MAI director Hans Kullock, arranged for Berklee students to perform at the various NJP venues around the Nancy region during the first half of the 11-day festival.
After visiting the academy and meeting with the faculty and staff, the team traveled about 2 1/2 hours to perform at the Musée d’Art Sacré in the town of Saint Mihiel. Following a nervous sound check in a large museum room with pillars (acoustics was a concern) the quartet performed to a packed audience whose presence provided a natural correction to the earlier acoustical imbalance. As an opening event for the week ahead, this was a powerful concert with super musicians playing just great jazz, great for the heart, for the soul, for the moment; and this town was so ready for this today. There was a good balance of aggressive and complex originals, a mixture of standards and ballads, and several great solos by all.
The audience seemed to be in the moment throughout the concert. An interesting phenomenon I noticed at this concert was that the audience was careful not to drown out new soloists through standard involuntary applause for solos that had just ended. I watched this as they did appreciate and applaud some solos when the next soloist seemed like he or she was going to give them the space to do this, and if there was a sensitive transition to a new soloist who was beginning to lay the the outline for a new solo they saw it, were attentive, quiet, and stayed with it. You can say that this audience was part of the creation tonight.
The Patrick Kunka Quartet @ Musée d’Arte Sacré de Saint Mihiel
This group of young, super-talented and unassuming musicians were enthusiastically greeted and congratulated for their performance. Mayor Philippe Martin, of Saint Mihiel, invited the group to an after-concert get-together at his home where we met several others (many were from the concert) and where several separate conversations ranged from excitement and hope for a new America, to local culture and languages (many spoke at least 3 to 4 languages) and music education around the world—one person even wanted to specifically understand Berklee’s impact on the development of a musician and how much can be attributed directly to Berklee.
Productive day. Things worked out. Good moments. See you tomorrow?
Assistant Director – Educational Programming
Berklee College Of Music