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Live Reviews

Vision Festival XI, Angel Orensanz Foundation For The Arts, NYC - Day Three, 15 June 2006

By Published: September 16, 2006

Another peak of intensity was reached with Campbell and Belogenis speaking in tongues, before a majestic restatement of the loosely phrased theme. Bemkey plucked at the piano's innards as Workman rubbed up and down the fret and Ali pattered. Dalachinsky returned to murmur over the dissipating energy and they closed their excellent fifty minute set to a well deserved standing ovation.

Denis Gonzalez and Maria Naidu

A very short set followed with Texan trumpeter Denis Gonzalez making one of his rare NYC appearances in a first time collaboration with Swedish dancer Maria Naidu. Naidu has performed as a guest artist with European dance companies and worked for eight years as a soloist in many leading roles with Jennifer Muller's company "The Works . Against a pre-recorded backdrop of white noise and snatches of music, Gonzalez recited from the side of the stage while Naidu exploded in short bursts of sinuous motion, interspersed with long held poses. Gonzalez sculpted a series of extended tones on trumpet as Naidu flowed towards and around him as he blew. There was a theatrical aspect to the interaction as Gonzalez turned his horn skywards, indifferent to Naidu's entreaties.

Gonzalez left the stage with Naidu lying half on and half off of it, and sprayed snatches of tune from around the hall. As the exhortations became more animated, Naidu roused herself and quickened in sympathy. Roy Campbell joined on pastoral flute from the far side of the hall and Louis Belogenis on cool tenor from the rear. Naidu left the stage and danced through and around the audience until all the performers had left the hall. A very pleasant soothing interlude.

Day and Taxi

The next group was new to me, Swiss trio Day and Taxi, consisting of Christoph Gallo on soprano saxophone, Christian Weber on bass and Michael Griener on drums. Originally formed in 1988, the group has been through several changes and a long lay off before resurfacing recently with this new line up.

Gallo, on soprano throughout, cut a restless figure. He crouched and swayed to essay his angular lines or hopped from foot to foot as time speeded up. Weber had a strong dark sound, deployed in close tandem with his rhythm partner. Griener was powerful and precise on drums. It was the group's overall precision which perhaps led to them stopping in the second piece when a mobile phone went off in the audience, perfectly timed, almost as if part of the arrangement, but leaving a certain downtown music emporium owner looking somewhat sheepish.

They played seven short compositions characterised by tight Lacyesque heads seamlessly flowing into intricate and tightly focussed interplay. At thirty five minutes, it was a concise and spirited set mixing contemporary new music and jazz, though with barely a hint of the blues.

Bill Dixon and George Lewis: Videosonic Projections

The finale was provided by he horns and electronics of Bill Dixon and George Lewis in their first appearance together. Dixon first came to prominence through his leading role in the Jazz Composers Guild and the 1964 artist-presented avant-garde festival, October Revolution in Jazz. Lewis emerged from Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians in 1976 through his work with Muhal Richard Abrams and Anthony Braxton. Although of different generations the career trajectories of the two brassmen have some marked similarities: in pursuing academia and also in embracing electronics in addition to their horns.

After a hiatus to sort the projection and his, Lewis called for the lights in the hall to be dimmed. The darkness reverberated to Dixon's blurts and breath sounds on trumpet through an echo mic, while Lewis conjured up electronically treated snatches of voices. Dixon has perfected an amazing command of the trumpet's lower registers and pitted subterranean growls against a whispering breathy backdrop. Lewis joined on trombone and blew soft long tones in a convergence of susurrating brass. Both played rapid-fire bursts of small sounds with Dixon's sonar soundings and Lewis's waspish buzz blending in a lyrical confluence.

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