BAM: Bremen Art Music?
For my died-in-the wool old freejazzer bones, there's nothing more warming than listening to France's Actuum or Emile Parmentier Quartet, TrioVD from England, Macej Obara from Poland, Belgian pianist Fulco Ottervanger, or Lithuanian tenor Liudas Mockunas. I find the more or less direct elaborations of folk music from Spain's Alboradas, Serbian Divanhana or Istanbul Kolektif equally absorbing; these two last successfully including voices but, to be perfectly honest, I can mostly do without the vocalizing within these groups, often tottering between Norah Jones' nasal meaowings and "dark lady" posing. Some of the groups with voices inhabit the fashionably cold world of Penguin Café Orchestra or Aphex Twins, areas where I was never able to feel seriously emotionally involved. When groove and jump are taken with a liberal pinch of irony, as to emphasize that they are an ersatz version born out of a different world, they also work for me, in the music of Trondheim Jazz Orchestra or Germany's Mo' Blow.
Conclusions? None. I guess that followers of the Jazz Canon will remain unmoved, or even require that the name could be used only with a stamp of approval, like Champagne or Parmigiano. The problem is, it's too late to put the cat back in the sack. If the Montreux Jazz festival can present Jane Birkin without being raided, I guess we can safely carry on with our Anthony Braxtons and Evan Parkers, as well as their sons and grandsons. For me it was all jazz anyway, and together with the others who could not care less about the question, we come back from these events elated by some of the music we heard, and at least interested by most.