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Live Reviews

The TD Canada Trust Vancouver International Jazz Festival 2006

By Published: July 16, 2006

With time running short, I raced over to Ironworks for the conclusion of the Zanussi Five, led by Norwegian bassist-composer Per Zanussi. The genre-bending quintet featured a rip-snorting sax section, including three sopranos ducking, dodging and landing knockout punches. Their first encore was a 1960s, psychedelic romp based around a demented James Brown riff. Their second encore: a mind-blowing, frenetic klezmer song. One of the saxophonists in the group, Kjetil Møster played the late show with his own trio, joining forces with Per Zannusi and Swedish drummer Kjell Nordeson. It was a bracing, fire-breathing, mostly free-jazz show with the leader displaying a big sound, wide range, and scary vibrato, alternating between long runs and fluttering sounds. Zanussi used his entire instrument, employing harmonics, plucking below the bridge, even changing tuning during a piece. Nordeson was propulsive and at times explosive, occasionally playing with mallets on tiny bongos and cymbals perched on top of his snare. The set ended with a long decrescendo into the early morning hour.

Back to the festival hotel to find the jam session in full swing, with saxophonist Phil Dwyer and drummer Dafnis Prieto from Roberto Occhipinti's group sitting in with pianist Alon Yavnai from Paquito's quintet. They were obviously having fun, taking all sorts of chances, playing for the sheer joy of it. Dwyer was killing on "Song For My Father, and Yavnai displaced time and played polytonally, but couldn't throw off his cohorts. The saxophonist from the Cuban group Maraca sat in and played long Brecker-like lines. At the end, Yavnai and Prieto launched into a montuno that brought the musician-heavy house down. ¡Qué sabroso!

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