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Bert Dockx, guitar; Thomas Jillings, tenor saxophone, clarinet; Gerben Brys, bass; Louis Evrard, drums, percussion
Ottla is the band of the tireless songwriter and guitarist Bert Dockx (Flying Horseman, Dans Dans) who has released his second solo album, Safe, this year. What emerged as a modest thought, an ambiguous plan to start playing jazz again, spiralled into an idiosyncratic project with its very own identity. It became Ottla, Franz Kafka’s beloved sister’s surname, after whom the young Dockx once christened a bicycle, and later his first band.
Ottla is a new and different beast, a unique hybrid of musical moods and styles. Certainly not a casual exercise, but a very downright, vital band. Today transformed into a quartet, Ottla was shaped and moulded under the watchful eye of its instigator, after years of music-making and taking cumulative form, and released a great self-titled album. We couldn’t have wished for a more satisfying conclusion to this year’s festival than this scintillating Flemish delicacy.