White Night Music Marathon in Tel Aviv
White Night - Jazz, Avant-Garde and Modern Music International Marathon
Enav Cultural Center
Tel Aviv, Israel
June 29, 2006
Ten hours of music, dozens of musicians from Israel and Europe, and lots of intriguing music. That's the story in a nutshell of the second mini-compacted Israeli version of the Vision Festival, Tel Aviv's White Night, a tribute to the Bauhus heritage of this seaside cultural capital of Israel.
The first set presented bass and electronics player Jean Claude Jones in three outfits. Jones opened in a duo with cellist Yuval Messner, and the two moved between tribal African rhythms, using their instruments and bows as percussion instruments, to more atmospheric drones.
Than Jones introduced his new trio, the Temperamental Interactive Trio, with baritone sax player Steve Horenstein, a close associate of innovative trumpeter Bill Dixon, and laptop player Loic Kessous, who has just released its debut disc, Raw and the Cooked (Kadima Collective, 2006). The trio's music synthesizes early sound experiments and motives pioneered by Dixon with modern minimalist soundscapes that have become so common on the hiss-like releases by the American Erstwhile and European For 4 Ears labels, where the divisions between acoustic sources, electronic, and sampled and processed sources are totally blurred. This short set provided only a glimpse into this raging, challenging sound lab.
One of the early highlights of this night was the meeting between Jones and English dancer Julyen Hamilton, now based in Spain. Hamilton collaborated last year with Jones for the first time and was eager to expand this experience (he had earlier collaborated with Dutch masters like drummers Han Bennink and bassist Wilbert de Joode). At the last second he asked Lithuanian drummer Arkady Gutesman to join for this set.
The outcome was spectacular. Hamilton was a kind of secular shaman, telling multiple stories through various characters at the same time with his dancing body, spicing them with humor. He had a great sense of rhythm and flux, and he communicated and responded so quickly to Jones' and Gutesman's every nuance. They were transfixed by Hamilton's moves and focused on paralleling his imagination with sounds, Jones buzzing his bass strings with spirited touches and Gutesman using his brushes to generate whirlwinds around his custom-made cymbals. Simply incredible.
Clarinetist Harlod Rubin hosted Danish pianist Olga Magieres from the Danish free improv combo Skraep for a an inventive duo that included an ironic and insightful reading of a Polish poem about an aging man missing his long gone love. Israeli saxophonist Albert Beger introduced three new pieces for his trio with bassist Gabby Meir and drummer Yoav Zohar, all inspired by spiritual sources like the writings of G.I. Gurdjieff, and all based on rolling syncopated beats that were built into explosive moments.
White Night debuted a new ad-hoc trio with pianist Slava Ganelin, Irish guitarist Mark O'Leary and Gutesman, a regular collaborator of Ganelin. The pianist interlocked immediately with O'Leary, who chose to produce soft tones and angular lines from his guitar during most of the forty minute improvisation, rarely pushing into more extrovert playing, referring more to King Crimson's Robert Fripp and the Mahavishnu Orchestra's John McLaughlin in their more contemplative moments, than to traditional jazz guitar playing.
Ganelin expanded O'Leary's stratospheric forays into intense symphonic voyages, enjoying the inventive and subtle ideas of Gutesman, one of the most under-recognized drummers on the European continent. The sharpness of O'Leary and Gutesman's playing saved Ganelin from sliding into the more sentimental side that is so apparent on his latest releases. The two kept Ganelin on his toes, balancing his complex dynamics.
The next set introduced the Polish Kinetic Trio, comprised of two elderly-looking mad professorsRafal Mazur (acoustic-bowed bass guitar) and Tomas Choloniewski (electronics)and the clownish percussionist and saxophonist Marek Choloniewski. Their improvised music was engaging and full of humor. They piled up sounds like church bells, Middle Eastern frame drums, African and Australian traditional native instruments, lots of gibberish, and occasional dances into various sound salads, but in a way that sounded and looked almost logical.
The main guest of this marathon was Danish-American sax legend John Tchicai, who resides now in France. Prior to his arrival, in an interview to the Israeli Daily Haaretz, he said that his lasting impression of the recording of John Coltrane's Ascension, 41 years ago, was "the master's modesty." Well, it seems that he still carries that lesson. He still has that investigative, deep sax tone, and now even enjoys singing, but he radiates the same kind of master's modesty as Coltrane did.