Nursery rhymes – what a wonderful subject for jazz musicians!
A lot of what is representative for the speciality of a culture is summarised in these songs. There is no country in this world without nursery rhymes. From the first sounds a child renders rhyme and rhythm, verse and melody develop. When children sing – regardless, whether they create something themselves or sing the songs written for them by adults – they enjoy their existence in impulse. As multiform the nursery rhymes of this world may be - what they all have in common is a catchy melody, a pictorial text, a simple musical arrangement and most of all: the joy of life. Rhythmical, melodious and harmonic they may differ greatly. With the first songs the children learn the musical language of their culture step by step.
Jazz musicians like Rolf Römer are masters of picking up the atmospheric vibrations. They embrace the playful elements just as well as the childlike dealing with sound and rhythm. Only that they are able to interpret and reinterpret the simple material. They transform it into an own musical idiom, integrate it into a jazz inspired context, enrich it with rhythmical and harmonical finesse, carry it on in the process of improvisation. Rolf Römer chose nursery rhymes which fascinated him because of their conciseness and were suitable for a new approach through the play of his quintet at the same time.
The jazzy adaptations – among them the arrangements of the band, the spontaneous developing soli but also compositorial extensions and creations are counted – orbit the basic, the childlike, and give it a new multi-dimensionality, changing the seemingly unsophisticated into art. Basically Rolf Römer handles the nursery rhymes like all the big ones in the history of jazz handle American standards. In doing so the basic musical material requires delving into the other cultures, into their diverse spectra and often impressingly complex rhythms. And even though the Rolf Römer Quintet leads us into another sound ambiance with every song, we encounter the same lightheartedness as a leitmotif everywhere. We associate this lightheartedness with childhood and on another level jazz not only reminds us of it but also exercises it ongoingly through the empathy for cultural traditions and musical enthusiasm again and again.