Susan Rigvava-Dumas and Project Two performing at the Café Central, Oct. 4, 2009. Clip kindly provided by Reinhard Bimashofer.
“Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker,” the lower sensual range of Dutch-born actress and Mezzo-Soprano Susan Rigvava-Dumas’ powerful voice floated across the neo-Renaissance Café Central. And almost whispering with delicate accompaniment of the rhythm section of the Vienna-based mini-Big-Band Project Two – “wherever you’re going I’m going your way.”
It’s Sunday, Oct. 4, about 8.30 pm, and with John Mercer’s 1961 award-winning hit ‘Moon River’ the band’s eclectic performance that day – the last of the Jazz Live im Café Central concerts – reaches undeniably its climax. Famously set to music by Henri Mancini for Audrey Hepburn, band leader and trombonist Karl Heinz Czadek’s sensitive arrangement suited the ensemble well and brought out the best of the skillful and experienced jazz musicians, indeed some of Austria’s finest.
Suddenly, with the key up also the pace changes and the character of ‘Moon River’ brightens, and Rigvava-Dumas reaches out for the high-powerful range. And while the audience is enjoying a cup of exquisite Wiener Mélange and cake, or a lavish early traditional dinner at one of Vienna’s oldest literary café’s, the nine instrumentalists are seated in the center.
Rigvava-Dumas is well-known among others as a Musical start– despite her classical training as a singer – especially of the role of Mrs. Danvers in Vienna’s impressive Rebecca production. And as her collaboration with Project Two shows, she evidently feels at home in performing jazz as well. She matches the band well musically, also wearing all-black: Dressed in dark trousers, a sleeveless jacket and a black tie cheekily around the neck, she equally conquers the packed audience with her charm as well as her performance.
Given the great success of tonight’s performance, one is surprised to learn that the short cycle of four Sunday concerts discontinues. The Café Central certainly is an unusual venue for Jazz, but the pieces from the Great American Song Book of many jazz standards – in exquisite arrangements by band leader Karl Heinz Czadek – complement the elegant ambience of the venue.
As for tonight, the enthusiastic audience demanded encores, and the evening concluded with an arrangement of Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1984), one of pop star’s signature songs, famously produced by jazz legend Quincy Jones.
“We have very little in common with pop music,” Czadek explains, many in the audience agree with silent head nods. “This is a different musical world.” But the purely instrumental arrangement was full of jazzy esprit, a fast-paced and powerful finish.
For those who missed the concerts in September, the same formation, however, performs at Jazzland, next appearance on Oct. 31, and the Christmas concert on Dec 22.