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Live Reviews

Vision Festival: Day 4, June 8, 2011

By Published: July 14, 2011
Peter Evans

Fuzzed bass loops, breakneck drums and percussive trumpet blasts combined in a sledgehammer start. Evans nonetheless excelled, belaying a lexicon of hyper fast trumpet maneuvers: clicks, squeals, growls and fanfares piled on top of each other with dizzying precision. The group's third number was jaw-dropping. To begin, Evans conjured a circular breathed muted drone, over which Dahl and Pride interjected a seemingly random sequence of furious outbursts of fuzz bass and crashing drums, though stopping and starting in perfect synchrony as if conducted or following a score, though none was in sight. All through it, Evans sustained his barely changing single tone. It was a startling juxtaposition of two kinds of amazing musicianship and elicited raucous affirmation from the rapt throng. But overall the raw volume and power divided the crowd.


Peter Brötzmann Quintet

To close out the night, Brötzmann showcased what could almost be termed his Chicago Quintet. It comprised reedman Ken Vandermark
Ken Vandermark
Ken Vandermark
b.1964
saxophone
, in his first Vision Festival appearance; Kent Kessler
Kent Kessler
Kent Kessler
b.1957
bass, acoustic
, his regular bassist from the Vandermark 5; and Norwegian drum dynamo Paal Nilssen-Love
Paal Nilssen-Love
Paal Nilssen-Love
b.1974
drums
, all longstanding confreres from Brötzmann's Tentet. Alongside them was reedman Mars Williams
Mars Williams
Mars Williams
b.1955
saxophone
, a former member of both the Tentet and the Chicagoan's combo. Those connections paid off in handsome style, with almost telepathic, on-the-fly arrangements, smooth transitions, and a shared mastery of dynamics during a performance just shy of the hour mark.

Unsurprisingly they blasted off at high intensity, with Brötzmann on tenor—his most powerful horn—Williams on alto and Vandermark on clarinet. After the opening salvo, a duet emerged from the maelstrom, with Vandermark (by now on tenor saxophone) and Kessler's muscular bass, before being subsumed once more within the polyphonic blast of the front line. An Americana-tinged section for horn choir, arco bass and Nilssen-Love's gongs gradually but inexorably built up to storm force, launching an alto explosion from Williams, with Vandermark on tenor, characteristically riffing in support, as Brötzmann stood back observing paternally.

From left: Paal Nilssen-Love, Mars Williams

From full ensemble they switched in the twinkling of an eye to a skronk duet between Vandermark's tenor and the Norwegian's spare cymbal and drum punctuations, recalling their compelling duo triumphs such as Milwaukee Volume (Smalltown Superjazz, 2009). Later, Brötzmann breathily channeled Coleman Hawkins
Coleman Hawkins
Coleman Hawkins
1904 - 1969
sax, tenor
in the company of Kessler's measured bass, before going places of which Hawk never dreamed. A second piece unleashed the three tenors of the Apocalypse in a cathartic blow out, terminated in a well-practiced move by the leader's leap into the air which cued an abrupt halt as he landed. The standing ovation that ensued was no more than his due for an outstanding sequence of music.

Day 1 | Days 2-3 | Day 4 | Days 5-6 | Day 7

Photo Credit

All Photos: {John Sharpe


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