Garana Jazz Festival 2014

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Arve Henriksen Band—The Norwegian super-group made of Arve Henriksen on trumpet and vocals, Jan Bang at live sampling, Stian Westerhus on guitar and Ingar Zach on drums, bought again the remote dreaminess of the North to the woods of Garana. Henriksen's celestial incantations on the trumpet and voice and Westerhus's telluric tearings were filtered and brought together by Jan Bang's subtle handling of harmony and rhythm. A light wind caressing the waters started the performance, the caves resounded with the distant roar of the approaching tempest that swept away the remnants of a tune. A new harmony opened with thunder strikes that coagulated around the bubbling sampled guitar gusts. The rhythmicity induced by the pedal moved into a compact sonic field; voices of the past rose and vanished in dissipated echoes: the trumpet was calling the ancient wood spirits that joined the nascent melody in a growing existential polyphony. The trumpet brought peace upon the tormented metallic percussion, the wind started scattering the heavy clouds, metal leaves were fluttering in the tall trees that bent clashing with the crystalline clink of translucent icicles, while the trumpet pierced the sky with a steel spear. The bow on the guitar, in large reverberations of sampled voices, was invoking the gods and quieting down the spirits. The heavy rain falling on Garana's hills moved from the meadow to the stage, while the guitar broke the acoustic barriers and freed the spirits decomposing the sound and deconstructing the word. In the silence following the storm the trumpet was calling the angels in high celestial voltas and quiet recesses of blue and velvety grey, chasing the clouds away and re-establishing the original peace.

Saturday, July 12

Tiberian/Dahlgren/Betsch "Both Sides of the River" feat. Liviu Butoi—The long established trio formula made up by the Romanian pianist Mircea Tiberian and the two American musicians, Chris Dahlgren on double bass and John Betsch
John Betsch
John Betsch
b.1945
drums
on drums, presented mainly pieces from the recently released album Both Sides of the River, (Tiger Records, 2013). The show started with Tiberian's composition "Everybody Likes Dogs," in a slight progression from the gong percussion to the bright fusion of instrumental lines. The free interaction deepened the feeling of immediateness just to emerge then into a rich theme with generous resonance and a swaying natural balance. The next composition of the pianist's, "So Simple," started with a suave theme in a crystal clear resonance with an edge, something that marks the artist's sonic brand and which gave an elusive touch to his performance. The tender bass line was tinged by the cymbals while the fine touch of the delicate bars of a music box brought the minute resonances into a realm of dreaminess, swerving into abstract and leading free musical association. The next number was dedicated to the memory of Charlie Haden, who had passed on that day—long riffs of sorrow poured into the bass opening line, which then were transposed into the sliding tones brought by the bow, escalating and mingling with the piano and the drum work and reaching hymn quality. The Romanian flute and saxophonist Liviu Butoi joined the trio on flute with light, tender touches that created a floating sonic environment that was then surrounded by a halo of isolated cymbal touches and bass resonances. Later on Butoi gave the whole measure of his talent and musical skills by enhancing the performance with low tones of the baritone saxophone in a groove mingling gravity with playfulness.

Pedro Negrescu Trio—The Romanian/Hungarian trio—made of Pedro Negrescu on double bass, Gabor Cseke piano, and Andras Mohay drums—brought a good jazz show with themes of a distinct sound brand marked by a clear romantic touch, which was underlined by the piano's pearly touches. The drums fed the fused harmonies and the imaginative improvisation. The finely dosed and skillfully nuanced double bass line was changing the mood of the theme in the best Mingus tradition. The vivacious pulsation of the melodic growth and the harmonic augmentations were alternating with reflexive passages that generated an entertaining drive.

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