Lulo Reinhardt

With much anticipation, we headed to the Republic Bar, where we found the bar staff had removed the tables and positioned rows of seats in front of the stage. Not long after 9pm, Lulo Reinhardt and his five band members came on. He had brought an electric double bass player and drummer with him, all the way from Germany. He also had a piano player, violin player and extra percussionist from Australia. The style of music they played was jazz with a touch of gypsy swing, all instrumental (bar the odd scat from Lulo) and an accent on solos.


The solos from the violinist and double bass player were entrancing. The pianist's solos were more varied (one with a thumb piano) and sometimes attractively cacophonous. He was talkative, and flamboyant with a touch of ego. At one stage he introduced all the band members, finishing with "and most importantly, … me, … no Lulo Reinhardt!"


Lulo Reinhardt is an amazing musician, a veritable guitar virtuoso. He sometimes played with a guitar pick and sometimes played, plucking the bass strings with his elongated thumb nail while strumming the rest of the strings. Some of his solos were so fast you were just impressed by his skill. Other times, it was his touch and rhythm that excelled. The mixer, Pixie Michael was like a 7th member, often varying the speaker that you could hear a solo through, allowing the sound to sweep across our audio perimeter. The sound was crisp and clear in the Republic Bar.


What with this, the older crowd, the seating and the style of music, was I in the Republic or at a Melbourne jazz bar? Despite this, there was still some conversation that was audible to the musicians, but the talkers were soon replaced by dancers, and there was a definite aura of appreciation in the room. The second set started with a song that was almost ambient in intent. This was helped with a few new instruments. The pianist had a Berimbau (one stringed, tall, Brazilian instrument). Lulo had a simple instrument that made a definite roar, despite the fact it was shaped like a mouse.


Sadly, after a couple of hours of great music, the night eventually came to an end, but not before one rather drunk lady started to sing along (in an inappropriate, yet tuneful manner).


The band looked puzzled and not sure what to do. She approached the stage, and just when it looked like she was going to fully embarrass herself, she realized her folly and backed away, returning the focus to Lulo. What an enjoyable and tight two sets we had heard from 6 musicians who had only played together 4 times before (with just half an hour practice pre show).


Most of the songs were originals, but there were a couple of Django Reinhardt songs, including Lulo's favourite , Douce Ambiance. It was a privilege to have these musicians in Hobart. I left wondering if they will have as much fun on stage at the end of their 150 date tour; and wondering whether the intimacy and interaction of Hobart will encourage them to return.

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