2010 TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival: Days 4-6
Plimley threw in random Monk quotes as well as an "It Ain't Necessarily So," and displayed not only an appreciation but mastery for Phineas Newborn-like two-fisted playing. His out of the blue reference to Jimi Hendrix' "Third Stone From The Sun" made several reappearances, extending through a good chunk of the set's second of three collective improvisations while the pianist tried his best to match and not to be overpowered by Bennink's forceful drumming. The drummer seemed to have his mind and sticks set to dominating mode, throwing caution to the wind regarding any potential subtler group dynamics; of the hundred or so times I've heard him live, I can't say I've ever heard him more unrelenting, not allowing a single space or rest squeak by. It was a mind-blowing listening experience to also visually witness such a non-stop performance of swinging ferociousness. The pianist between the second and final group improvisations even commented at his first-time appreciation of the drummer's expertise on brushes, not so subtly hinting perhaps that Bennink could tone it down (the Dutchman obliged for all of one minute of the final group improv, then returned to his former self). Each improvisation culminated with a telepathic coda and finale, ending on a dime, ever more surprising and rewarding given the seemingly competitive circumstances. With this solid level of intensity, the set flew by rather quickly (though perhaps not quick enough for de Joode, stuck in between the two, inaudible for the most part), clocking in at just over a half hour. After the musicians left the stage, Bennink quickly disappearing, Plimley remained in an aisle and played cheerleader for the masses to demand more music. Bennink, convinced, came back for an encorea less than two-minute free for all, which in essence condensed the previous half hour into 120 seconds! Still a(nother) festival highlight. A "you had to be there" show that would never come across quite the same on recording.
The final three days-worth of VIJF reviews for this correspondent soon on the way.... Stay tuned.
All photos by Chris Cameron except Michael Moore, Coat Cooke and Nicole Mitchell by Laurence Donohue-Greene