Cully Jazz festival 2016 – Switzerland gets down to bizniz (day 2)

‘Levitation’ by Tobias Preisig & Stefan Rusconi – Le Temple, Cully, 9/4/16

@J-C Arav

Tobias Preisig and Stefan Rusconi are Swiss pillars of the Cully Jazz musical institution. Their Saturday night performance at Le Temple church marked a return to sacred ground that the duo had already trodden a few years ago. This is the venue that inspired and housed their Levitation project that tonight is played out to an eager audience, most of whom are already familiar with the powerful, intimate exchange between violinist and pianist.

The key feature of the Levitation project is the sensitive, gradually drawn out soundscape created in great part by Rusconi on the church organ which is then supported and teased out by the strings. In practical terms this means having the two musicians play upstairs in the church gallery, heard but not seen from the audience down below. Deciding that this year’s jazz audience needed something to look at, the entire concert was projected on screen at ground level, which, ironically – because of the very bright projector light that was aimed right at the audience – meant that many of us listened with eyes tightly shut, (it was a bit like staring at the solar eclipse without eye protection). Possibly the best way to appreciate the moody, almost Gothic sounds raining down from above.

Some questions and answers with violinist Tobias Preisig:
What’s your relationship to the Cully Jazz festival?

Tobias Preisig: I have a special attachment to Cully Jazz. I’ve been playing here for the last 6 years, I started off in a small caveau as part of the ‘OFF’ programme, then they offered me residency, then larger stages as part of the main programme. There’s a extremely open-minded attitude here and strong commitment to push the next generation. Young and unestablished musicians find a stage here, right next to the superstars. Playing at Cully is definitely the highlight of the year for me. It’s become almost a family gathering with musical professionalism.

Was the material for ‘Levitation’ tailor-made for Cully?

Tobias Preisig: We played as a duo here at Le Temple in Cully a few years ago, performing for the first time with the church organ. Again, it was an opportunity that the festival gave to us. We fell in love with the sound and came back one summer to record at Le Temple for 5 nights. This music is now released as an LP called ‘Levitation’ and yes, it’s definetely tailor-made. So what’s nicer than to celebrate a recording that was actually made in this enviroment?!

Will there be more live gigs with the ‘Levitation’ project?

Tobias Preisig: This is a special side project for both Rusconi and I whose friendship and collaborations go back a long time. So far we’ve only played the material from Levitation live twice! There are a lot of underplayed organs and oversized churches, so we are looking forward to exploring them and awakening them with new music.

Preisig & Rusconi Levitation bandcamp



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