All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Serving jazz worldwide since 1995
All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Live Reviews

Vision Festival: Day 7 Finale, New York, NY, June 11, 2011

By Published: July 23, 2011
On piano Cooper-Moore
Cooper-Moore
Cooper-Moore

percussion
enjoyed greater breathing space than with David S. Ware
David S. Ware
David S. Ware
1949 - 2012
sax, tenor
, mixing fine blues-tinged assertions and angular comping. William Parker
William Parker
William Parker
b.1952
bass, acoustic
and Gerald Cleaver handled the sometimes in, sometimes out rhythmic duties with aplomb. Jason Kao Hwang's searing violin reveled in wah wah effects and bent notes, before unfurling into a final number that encapsulated much of what is best about the Vision Festival: moving seamlessly from a joyful celebratory bounce, recalling New Orleans polyphony, into righteous atonality and back again.


Roy Campbell

William Parker's Billy Bang Tribute: Mystery of the Mekong

Tributes can have the tendency to be maudlin or inconsequential but, under the direction of William Parker
William Parker
William Parker
b.1952
bass, acoustic
, the amassed might of a 20-piece string section dedicated to violinist Billy Bang hit both emotional and musical highs. Bang had been scheduled to appear at this year's festival before his untimely demise in April 2011, but his band was here tonight, along with a selection of horns supplementing the strings.

Right from the majestically soulful opening sweep of an extended rendition of Bang's "Mystery of the Mekong," it was clear the spirit was in the house. Kyoko Kitamura
Kyoko Kitamura
Kyoko Kitamura

vocalist
delivered heartfelt lyrics penned by Parker, while he orchestrated a backing riff to accompany her. There flowed a sequence of cameos from the assembled throng as Parker skillfully concocted arrangements on the spot. Bill Cole's piercing double reed was pitched first against a phalanx of pizzicato violins, then in duets with the strings of Henry Grimes
Henry Grimes
Henry Grimes
b.1935
bass, acoustic
and Mazz Swift. James Spaulding
James Spaulding
James Spaulding
b.1937
sax, alto
's alto saxophone burned as everyone free associated until reaching a wonderful crescendo of dissonance, at which point Parker created space for a floating duet between Andrew Bemkey
Andrew Bemkey
Andrew Bemkey
b.1974
piano
's piano and Roy Campbell's flute, before a return to the soaring theme.



William Parker's Tribute To Billy Bang


Next followed a spirited version of the late violinist's "Saigon Funk," spotlighting the incisive trumpet of Ahmed Abdullah
Ahmed Abdullah
Ahmed Abdullah
b.1947
trumpet
and the tender violin of Jason Kao Hwang
Jason Kao Hwang
Jason Kao Hwang
b.1957
violin
, before breaking into a wild orgiastic blowout, fittingly named "Ascension for Billy Bang." Parker blew hard on a double reed instrument, at first alone, then in the company of Cole, before returning to the front of the stage to establish an incantatory riff which had the entire audience standing and screaming, concluding with Parker strutting his stuff against a juddering slab of funk for a rousing and highly charged farewell.

Festival wrap up

It was clear from Patricia Nicholson's announcements during the course of the festival that without significant financial support over the coming year the future of the Vision Festival is in serious doubt. To lose such a renowned shop window for hometown talent would be a crying shame. Nowhere else can fans partake of such a concentration of avant jazz in such a friendly atmosphere, and this year's event was well up to the standard of previous editions. Outstanding shows included the whole of the Peter Brotzmann
Peter Brotzmann
Peter Brotzmann
b.1941
reeds
celebration, Dawn of Midi, Matthew Shipp
Matthew Shipp
Matthew Shipp
b.1960
piano
/Evan Parker
Evan Parker
Evan Parker
b.1944
sax, tenor
, Paradoxical Frog, Planetary Unknown, Connie Crothers, the All Star Mystery Collective and William Parker's Billy Bang Tribute. However, a series of shows in the downstairs theater filled the gap left by the cessation of the customary Saturday afternoon showcase for emerging artists, and demonstrated that the future of the music is in good hands.

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

Photo credits

All photos: John Sharpe


comments powered by Disqus