Third Annual Chivas Jazz Festival
Avishai Cohen and his International Vamp Band (Diego Urcola, trumpet/flügelhorn, Avi Lebovish, trombone/flute, Yosvany Terry, tenor/alto saxophones/chekeré, Yagil Baras, bass, and Eric McPerson, drums) presented a completely different set, in which extroversion and movement touched sometimes the frantic. Starting with "Yagla", in which the beautiful arrangement for trombone, trumpet and tenor sax paid its dues to the Jazz Messengers, Cohen left the piano, instrument that he uses merely as a support, and taking the electric bass, he did a basically rockish solo which foreseeably brought the Carioca audience (traditionally given to exteriorizations) to delirium. But the strategy may eventually fail in Brazilian places of different mental conformation such as São Paulo, for instance. "Bass Suite # 1" featured Cohen in an unaccompanied performance at the acoustic bass, in which he demonstrated, besides the evident technical mastery, a musically comprehensive approach, exploring the instrument's possibilities in the diverse fields of melody, harmony, rhythm and timbre. His execution, including percussive attacks on the body of the instrument, presented his conception of the presence of the so-called "world music" in jazz. The other highlights of a set in which the solos didn't bring nothing really new, notwithstanding their expressive beauty, were the beautiful harmony of the ballad "Float" and the complex rhythms of the Latin theme "I.V.B.", all built on unexpected accentuations making it hard to perceive the simple 3/4 time signature.
The night of the Friday 24 was opened by Nathalie Loriers with her "Recurring Dreams" in a solo piano intro. Adequately described by the title, the composition consists in a sound collage evocative of an abandoned oneiricism (represented by successive modulations to distant keys) interspersed by "returns to reality" when, joined by Sal La Rocca (bass) and Franck Agulhon (drums), Loriers shared with them phrases agreed upon of strong rhythm attack, which soon afterwards would give room to new retreat towards her individual universe. "The Last Thought of the Day", with its conspicuous evocation to Bill Evans, was opened again with a solo piano intro in ad libitum tempo until the rhythm section attacked a 6/8 of soft intensity, crescendo during the solo but always keeping itself in a level of delicacy that betrayed the conservatory formation of the interpreter, which put at her disposal a more ample set of possibilities of dynamics. Following with "Dinner With Ornette and Thelonious", Lorriers evidenced that along with the classical education she also knew how to appropriate of the popular expression, swinging excitingly with her rhythmic section throughout the piece, which presented Monk elements in the harmony and reminiscences of Coleman in its melody; in his improv at this tune, La Rocca, even if having a consistent performance through the presentation as a whole, found moments of rare inspiration. Immediately after the delicate interplay of soft dynamics of "Silent Spring" (owing to "Blue in Green", by Evans/Davis), where a rhythmic puzzle and a solo by La Rocca over Eastern motives supplied a plus to the pianist's introspection, came "Continuum", without solution of continuity; once more a highly kinetic swinging, this time based on an ostinato that served as a frame to a chromatic chord solo.
The next to perform was Paolo Fresu and his Italian Quintet (Tino Tracanna, tenor/soprano saxophones, Roberto Cipelli, piano, Attilio Zanchi, bass and Ettore Fioravanti, drums), starting already in full charge with "On Second Line" (Zanchi). The song, with its impacting swing, proved to be an excellent vehicle for a highly energetic solo by Fresu, defying the physiologic possibilities of human breath. "Que Reste-t-il de Nos Amours" (Chauilac/Trenet) was Cipelli's turn to shine with a fascinating solo, full of surprises and the postponing of resolutions, while Fresu and Tracanna changed imaginative fours interspersed by interjectional unisons by the combo. After the lyric exposition of the beautiful tunes "What Are You Doing For The Rest Of Your Life" (Legrand) and "Ammazzare Il Tempo" (Rava), Fresu presented less interesting elements of his appreciation for Miles, here represented by the use of a harmonizer for his simple funk groove. Following suit he proposed just the theme of "Luíza" (Jobim), in a sensible duo with Cipelli, soon giving its place to a tango in which the pianist shone in his best solo of the evening. The performance of the group, revealing for the Brazilians Fresu as a trumpeter of the highest inventive quality in the world landscape, was finished with another groove a la Davis.