Great musical presence
by Thomas Becker
On Saturday, Simone Helle, a singer who is known beyond the city limits, performed live with her brilliant pianist Marc Brenken a stylistically very open concert and her personal "Soul Pieces".
Following a longer break from performing, Simone Helle proved great musical presence with her expressive voice here in the "Säule" - much to the delight of the audience. Thereby she achieved impressive jazz interpretations of Beatles classics like "Norwegian Wood" and "Ticket to Ride" or of Randy Newman's "Guilty". Also an exotic version of Duke Ellington's "Caravan" appealed to the audience.
(WAZ, 10.03.2015, Excerpt on Simone Helle)
Oleg Chaly excels with sophisticated playing skills and perfect timing, both as a soloist and as the creative accompanist of Simone Helle.
Jazz at an unusual location: Where usually during the intermission of an opera performance glasses would be sipped at, Simone Helle invited her audience to a swinging and grooving concert.
The jazz singer, who lives in Duisburg, had brought a trio with her including the pianist Oleg Chaly.
The Russian who lives in Greece was without a doubt the outstanding musician of the evening.
Chaly is a technically-versed pianist and keyboarder, who is up to every trick in mainstream jazz und blues. He excels with sophisticated outstanding playing skills and perfect timing.
Chaly convinces both with original compositions like "Dramatic chromatic" and as the creative accompanist of Simone Helle.
Her voice conveys, above all in the mid-range, warmth and a light touch of velvet. But she can also sound clear, cloudy or also at times throaty. Her intonation remained in the high notes as well as in the low ones.
In short: Simone Helle possesses a complete palette of ways of expressing herself. With this she interprets classics like "Cry me a river" or "Love for sale" but also successful original compositions like "Home" or "Mama blues". Whereas this lamentation of a mother over her pubescent daughter seemed a bit intentional in some passages, "Home" was pleasing as a musically catchy and at the same time sensitive view of the world from the perspective of an adolescent.
Because Simone Helle's vocals, with all its sophistication, always remained rhythmic, one felt well-entertained the whole evening, even though some interpretations come across as nice rather than compelling.
What level of intenseness she is also capable of, was demonstrated with "Round midnight". In the duet with the excellent bassist, Stefan Mandlburger, she built up a suspense, which left the audience almost hankering after the next tone. ht
(WAZ / NRZ - dated 26.01.2010)
Simone Helle and the 6th Sense in the Stüble Theater
Kornwestheim. For the German-Persian singer Simone Helle and her band the 6th Sense, it was the first concert in Kornwestheim. With her expressive voice and varied programme she put the audience under her spell.
by Sabine Baumert
Although Simone Helle emanates from an international family of artistes, when you hear her voice, you could believe that she comes from the southern states of the USA, where jazz and blues originated. The singer's signature attribute is her deep timbre, where her voice sounds breathy and mystical. However, Helle is endued with a considerable vocal range, which would do credit to an opera soprano singer. Enthralling is the alternation between high and low pitches, which, for the most part, is performed sliding in glissando and which expresses every conceivable mood: from a painful outcry to a wistful sigh, reflectiveness, dolefulness, happiness and childlike playfulness.
She is backed by the congenial musicians Noel Stevens on the piano and Stefan Werni on bass. When these three play in ensemble, it sounds enjoyably spontaneous and, therefore, also always very interesting. Still, despite all this, the music is always concerted. The English-born pianist contributes a lot to the stylistic spectrum of the programme. He obviously feels just at ease with laid-back swing titles as with sentimental pop ballads in the style of Elton John, or scudding over the keys in the best Jerry Lee Lewis style by a Boogie Woogie accompaniment or with wistful blues. Stefan Werni lets his bass snarl, shout or cry, or he runs his fingers just as nimbly as his pianist colleague over the strings. In one song, he even uses the corpus of his sedate instrument as a percussion instrument. But also otherwise during performances, both instrumentalists completely forget that there is no percussion in the trio instrumentation.
What contributes to variety in the programme is that the vocalist arranges parts of it with only one of the two instrumentalists. Thus titles from Stevie Wonder or a personal arrangement of the Beatle song "Blackbird" even received their premiere in Kornwestheim, with Stefan Werni playing his instrument.
While the main part of the programme is presented in English, Helle portrays in her self-composed German "Mama-Blues" the sighs of a mother of an adolescent daughter, who is always banging her head against a brick wall and in doing so she puts her mother's patience to the acid test. During the first of two encores, the audience, who had been kept spellbound until then, joined in enthusiastically and would at best not have allowed the trio to go.
(The Stuttgart Newspaper - Stuttgarter Zeitung - dated 16.02.2008)
Once again, long pub nights attracted many jazz and blues fans
into the city centre
by Alexander Krützfeldt
VERDEN. This year’s Jazz and Blues Days were more jazz than blues days. There were almost as many insider tips for the pub tour as participating taverns. Whoever had managed to fish through the overwhelming choice and had ventured into one of the 13 stations, also had to push themselves often through overfilled rooms. 1250 tickets were sold; the mood was good and the weather at its best: The organizers from the association Jazz- und Bluestage could be content. "That went really well", confirmed the treasurer Matthias Witte. "We had more visitors than in the last two preceding years and have almost exceeded the highest bench mark." …
At 9.30 p.m. the Ulrich Rasch Quartet joined the pub night as the last band on this evening. In the catchment area of the "Bermuda Triangle" between Litfass, Sotti’s and Mais 12, Pades Restaurant and the Domschänke compete for the jazz enthusiasts.
The singer Simone Helle and band The 6th
Sense offer a superior fare, which goes down well in Pades’ ambience.
There is no winner; both jazz bands play with nearly the same instrumentation
and at a high level.
Verdener News, 24.09.2007
The vocalist Simone Helle has a warm-hearted charisma. Her voice is subtly differenciated, multi-faceted and impressive in both the high and low pitches. The influences of Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan are perceptible. Unconventional interpretations alternate with individual Scat-passages. Her repertoire consists of a convincing mixture of e.g. Cole Porter, Thelonious Monk, Arthur Hamilton and attractive compositions of her own. The Co-musicians Noel Stevens, org., Alex Morsey and Markus Conrads, d.b., Achim Kämper and Jürgen Scholz, dr., perc., Frank Bergmann, sax. And Charlotte Renting, fl. improviseperceptively, with great enthusiasm and an intoxicating effect. Noel YStevens on the Hammond B3 is a particularly creative driving force. A very successful, delightful, jazzy CD with intensive and professional music and with excellent musicians, who shine through very good teamwork and transmitan infectious enjoyment in performing.
Ilse Storb Jazzpodium, 54.th set of year, 09.09.2005, p.75
Simone Helle released her first CD "The Right Night"
The British Hammond organist Noel Stevens shaped the sound
By Thomas Becker
Accompanied by the mighty groove of the Hammond organ, a Duisburg citizen renders homage to the black blues and jazz culture. Simone Helle breathes new life into classic songs like "Cry me a river" and "Unchain my heart". The first CD released by Simone Helle and her band "The 6th sense" is titled "The Right Night", and this singer who has been well-known on Duisburg stages for some years now has made a CD that is just right for an evening concert at home.
"Are you German?" is a question the Duisburger vocalist of light-milky-coffee -complexion is used to being asked,to which she spontaneously points out her "gene-mix of Westphalian Ems and Persian Gulf". This can also be read in the text accompanying her CD, where the stages of her musical development are described as well: Simone started piano lessons at the age of five, playing Mozart and Bach, later Chatschaturjan and Milhaud before discovering Jazz through the music of George Gershwin. The distinguishing feature of her album "The Right Night" is the unmistakeable sound of the Hammond B3, played by Noel Stevens from Nottingham in the traditional way of the late founding father Jimy Smith. Further members of the top-casted band are Alex Morsey and Markus Conrads on double bass, Achim Kämper and Jürgen Scholz on drums and percussions, the saxophonist Frank Bergmann and the flutist Charlotte Renting. With a black timbre, Simone Helle moves competently and with a definite style among jazz, soul and blues, knowing perfectly how to combine tradition and innovation. Standards like "Night and day", "Sweet Georgia Brown", "Round Mignight" or the Doors' hit "Light my fire" were initially intended to be presented on a Demo-CD, but were then deemed to be suitable for the retail market. So music friends can now find the CD under bol.de or also at the record shop "Schallplatte" at Sonnenwall. In other respects, Simone Helle is planning to pursue an international career.
Jazz talent from Homberg convinces with her first CD.
"The Right Night" hits the spot for fans of soulful improvisations.
"Together with her ensemble "the 6th sense" the vocalist from Homberg develops an exciting atmosphere of jazz, blues and soul on her first CD "The Right Night". Three songs are written by Simone herself: The passionate "Mama Blues" in German (when sung by her it is a soulful language worth hearing), the title song: "The Right Night" full of vigorous Swing and the cheeky "Loud, sexy and proud". All thirteen songs reflect the abundance of life; they require vocal vigor. They convey lifeblood, passion and experience of life. Her songs captivate the listener".
"Natural vocal talents still exist. All those passages Simone
Helle was presenting in "djäzz in a silver- throaty timbre,
without the hard edgesas well as with a frequently mellow breathy
Blues-pathos were classical characteristics of a thoroughbred singer.
The remarkable versatility of her voice made the history and
development of Jazz acustically recur. ... This woman has voice and she
uses it on a virtouoso vocal tour. ... Her voice ... appears like a
joint legacy of Mahalia Jackson and Ella Fitzgerald".
"A mixture of warmth and melancholy lies in the voice of
Simone Helle. Black tradition combined with a good portion of easiness
- this is how one could describe Simone Helle's style. ...Her singing
seems to be flowing and mild, almost like a pleasant wind on a summer