Kol Simcha, Norwich

DAVID WAKEFIELD The band’s material – based heavily on Jewish klezmer music – embraces all manner of influences.


In a festival noted for the excellence of its jazz content, this was the surprise package: A surprise for me, at any rate. Before this performance, I knew nothing of Kol Simcha, a genial Swiss quintet, who obviously enjoy their music and their performances, other than what I had read in their publicity blurb.

It is probably a bit misleading to label Kol Simcha a jazz ensemble, for the band's material – based heavily on Jewish klezmer music –embraces all manner of influences.

It's true that you do catch a jazz mood occasionally, but the influences are so varied and the theme inevitably returns to the klezmer style.

That they are expert instrumentalists was obvious: Michael Heitzler (clarinet) showed nimble technique, and a keenness to improvise, as did Roman Glaser on flute, whisked along by the impressive drumming of David Klein.

I hadn't been quite sure what to expect. What I did get was enjoyable, easy on the ear, and not at all demanding. As I said, a surprise package. For me perhaps a little too surprising.

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t Kol Simcha were performing at Norwich Playhouse.

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