Thursday, March 25, 2004

May begins on March 24 

TALLINN, Club BonBon– Legendary Marju Kuut hides herself behind a huge monitor. According to the the concert organizers this is just one of the requirements to make the Estonian jazz queen feel comfortable on the stage.

Marju Kuut is very sensitive to the cold current of air. The audience surrounds the stage as if they were trying to protect her frail voice. Should we call her Marju or Maryn E Coote? She looks so different tonight, dressed in wide legged orange pants and hooded cloak. Despite the juvenile outlook we expect her to start with one of the famous songs from the 1970’s. Marju kindly asks us to quit the cigarettes. The band begins to play.

Marju’s visits are few and far between. Tonight, she brings a surprise with the excellent conditions of her voice. It sounds sweet and tender in its hoarseness. The first songs are presented in English with one or two verses in Estonian translations. The Ella Fitzgerald song is full of new rhythms and fusion. The wordless scat singing is not crossing the octaves Marju could reach twenty years ago. This time she cognizes the moment the voice is cracking. The audience witnesses the hard work with the voice. Marju clears her throat. It is a sign of an old hit to be performed. The jazz diva claps her hands and chews a gum with a look of satisfaction. Marju seems to be feeling more comfortable when singing the old Estonian ballads. As a matter of fact her enunciation has changed after the days in USA. The way she says the vowels make us think whether Marju Kuut had just come off the ferry. However, the change in her vocalization fits to her new style. She starts to dance in a funky way. Next song will be “Get Back” written by The Beatles. The lyrics remind us that Marju’s journey in USA has come to the end. It goes like this:“Wearing her high heel shoes and her low neck sweater. Get on home Loretta. Get back - oh get back where you once belonged...”.

After a little break Marju presents us different songs from blues to bossanova. We are enchanted with her new music pieces, where band takes a back seat to the catchy vocals. Marju Kuut has taken a big step forward in the field of funky music. Tonight the new songs pan out as the Paul Simon's bridge over troubled waters. During the guitar solos she reads the notes and looks as if she prefigures the exact sound of her next phrases. Her most famous hit “Raagus sõnad” starts a wave of applaus. This old sad melody makes us feel the cold coming down the spine. It is beautiful. Marju drinks some water and appears to the front of the curtains again. Some people have left the room - maybe they wanted to remember Marju’s performance ending with the hit from the 70’s. Anyhow, the audience has to face the progressiveness of their jazz diva. The future is now. The concert “Märtsis algas mai” has sent us the message we all should keep in our mind:”March begins in May”.

Despite the pseudonym Maryn E Coote we find the new-old Marju Kuut part of the Estonian jazz history. She has finally become self-confident. We couldn’t hear a single rash mannered tune or a punk-stylish protest against the nostalgic listeners – no more did she have to prove her notion in the modern music. So let us hope that people have finally fallen in love with today’s Marju with her new look and modern songs.


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