2010 TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival: Days 1-3
Off to Gastown in the northeast section of Vancouver, where several outdoor stages had been set up for concerts throughout the afternoons. Today was the music of Jimi Hendrix curiously, but ultimately successfully, performed by Swiss- American vocalist Erika Stucky, Irish-Swiss guitarist Christy Doran, Swiss drummer Fredy Studer and American electric bassist/one-time Ornette Coleman Prime Timer Jamaaladeen Tacuma. The streets quickly filled up with avid listeners and dancers once the music wafted unique renditions and commendable makeovers down and through Gastown, covering a good chunk of Hendrix repertoire from "Voodoo Chile" and "Purple Haze" to "Machine Gun" and "The Wind Cries Mary." Creating something else out of something already classic and arguably already overdone represents quite an achievement.
Some of Stucky's vocal acrobatic styling was admittedly a bit over the top and quickly became old hat (e.g. her frequent caw- cawing crow sounds grew thin on these ears), but she without a doubt made many of these songs her own by the liberties she and her band took throughout their set. And what a stellar "backup" band she compiled, too. Tacuma more than merely held down the bottom bass line, as could be heard on the excellent instrumental showcase, "Machine Gun." "Castles Made of Sand" may have been the most true to the original rendition of the entire set, even though it featured Stucky and band accomplishing a fascinating rewinding effect of the tune performed backwards as if the cassette was being played in reverse live in performance. For Doran to accomplish his own individuality on such iconic rock standards is the utmost of compliments in itself. He paid a fine tribute to one of the greats with but a rare moment of perceived mimicry. A(nother) true original.
And for the moment we'd all been waiting for.... The Globe Unity Orchestra! It seems the first three days were all leading up to this very event, as surely was intended by VIJF's first week programming. The Roundhouse was bustling with excitement and, well, anticipation. The only GUO member that couldn't make the trip was co-founder trumpeter Manfred Schoof, but otherwise everyone else seemed to be present and accounted for (and all of which had been featured earlier in the week and mentioned in the above coverage for at least one small VIJF project). On hand for this one: Schlippenbach, Parker, Dudek, Walsdorff, Mahall, Dorner, Cappozzo, Thewes, (Connie) Bauer, Lovens and Lytton. With the two drummers set up on the same stage, Lytton unfortunately was placed behind the wall of reedmen, nearly out of sight and arguably sound too; Lovens was more prominently situated to one side of the stage, in front of the brassmen, so enjoyed being omnipresent whenever he touched his kit, however light or heavy.