Vision Festival 2009: Day 5
There was a thinning of the ranks at this late hour, but Lisa Sokolov's was not phased and her performance unaffected. In a change of pace after three very intense sets, she nonetheless displayed lots of passion, putting her soul into a bravura vocal performance, singing either alone or at the piano (left). She was well-accompanied by the veteran Cameron Brown on bass and her son Jacob Sokolov-Gonzalez on scratchily abstract cello, in thoughtful and varied arrangements, including "Ol' Man River" and a knockout "Lush Life" with just Brown's bass for company.
Some of her vocal mannerisms, including a sort of childish whine were off-putting, but it was an otherwise strong display, with her voice strident, sweet, soaring and tender by turns. For "Haiku You," her conversational delivery was able to incorporate "the lady has a green light" as she received the signal that she had five minutes to go in a set which received a standing ovation from a sparse but discriminating audience.
Though there were some improvements in time keeping, the Joe Morris ten piece group still hit the stage an hour after schedule. This was the US premier of a project which came about when Morris was asked by a promoter in Barcelona to perform the music of Perez Prado (The King of Mambo), but to open up the arrangements to more free playing. Morris worked with Timo Shanko (who was scheduled to appear but couldn't make it) to choose the pieces and come up with tight new arrangements with the rhythms spiced by overlapping horn lines.
Their set made for a fun end to the evening, with two percussionistsWillie Martinez and Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng (on right)rightly placed out front, rejoicing in the infectious rhythms.
There was strong soloing from Steve Lantner who spliced his flowing abstract legato lines with the prevailing mambo, and also from Tony Malaby on tenor saxophone(a late replacement for Shanko) the flamboyant Bill Lowe on trombone, Jim Hobbs on alto saxophone and Forbes Graham on trumpet. Obeng had an incredible feature at the start of the second piece where he played a Thelonious Monk tune solely on his talking drum, before launching into another mambo groove. Somewhat chaotic sound was the only downside to this goodtime end to the evening, as the percussionists were so loud that they overpowered other parts of the band and even the drums at times.
Even at the end of a long but fulfilling day's music, there was still sufficient promise in the following night's bill to whet the musical appetite. Rob Brown was to return as part of the Planet Dream collective and AACM veteran Fred Anderson was appearing with the dream team of Hamid Drake and William Parker. A co-operative trio with drummer Whit Dickey and pianist Eri Yamamoto provided a welcome platform for multi-instrumentalist Daniel Carter and closing out the evening was Peter Brotzmann's ferocious Full Blast Trio.
John Sharpe and Frank Rubolino (of Milford Graves)