By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
Acclaimed German saxophonist Stephanie Lottermoser together with GHjazz Collective recently mesmerized a capacity audience at the Goethe-Institut with a tangible and captivating concert that left the audience feeling as if they are in a jazz club.
Accompanied by Bernard Ayisa (saxophone), Victor Dey (keyboard), Frank Kissi (drums) and Gaddiel Amoah (bass), the group displayed a mastery of their craft with interlocking saxophone solos from Lottermoser and Ayisa that drew the attention of the crowd while wondering what was yet to come from the stage.
With energetic improvisations alongside slow, spare and reflective duets between the two saxophonists, the group succeeded in proving the power of cross-cultural collaboration while telling the jazz story of Ghana and Germany.
“The group captivated the audience from the very first note – outstanding musicianship and often beautiful, expressive themes will be an accurate description. Accra needs more of such performances for jazz lovers”, said Yaa Asiedua, a music teacher in Accra.
Indeed, pianist Dey and bassist Amoah provided the confident middle ground between the contrasting elements of jazz and Ghanaian music as the group’s easy combination of both musical influences drew cheers and applause from the enthusiastic audience.
With tunes such as “Bring Your Own Sunshine”, “What Kind of Love Song”, “Ikigai”, “Gotta Do Something”, “Morgen Hamburg”, “These Boots Are Made for Walking”, (Lottermoser), “Urban Safari”, “Tears” (Dey) and “Kukus Them” (Ayisa), the quintet performed with intense passion revealing in the process a superlative artistry and an alluring stage presence.
Also a composer / singer, Lottermoser is one of the most renowned jazz artists in Germany and has been performing at various festivals and clubs. In 2022, she opened the main stage of the ELBJAZZ Festival in Hamburg (Germany) with over 11,000 jazz fans in attendance. Lottermoser has also provided musical accompaniment for several beCAUSE agency events.
A lecturer at the Bavarian State Youth Jazz Orchestra, she studied Cultural Sciences at the Ludwig-Maximilians University and Jazz Saxophone at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater (Munich, Germany) and received a Bavarian Art Prize / scholarship for the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris (France).
Formed in 2013, GHjazz Collective possesses the ability to swing and it’s noted for an uncanny intensity that genuine jazz lovers simply embrace. Undeniably, all members have recordings under their names and have made significant contributions to the development of jazz in Ghana.
The group has performed with saxophonists Godwin Louis, Benjamin Boone and Salim Washington as well as guitarists Colter Harper, Barry Finnerty and Vasti Jackson (USA). Others are trumpeter Teus Nobel, singer Zosia El Rhazi and guitarist Lucas Meijers.