There are many ways to weigh a music festival, and one that might be a bit too demanding a measure is perfection. Perfection can be fleeting, and is too nebulous to really pin down. There were several moments of perfection during the 2012 FIMAV, but one stands out as the sort of thing it often takes a such festival to pull together. Manitoba-born, Berlin-based bassist Miles Perkins convened a quartet with British trumpeter Tom Arthurs, French pianist Benoit Delbecq and Canadian drummer Thom Gossage that delivered pure and serene abstraction. The music was soft and beautifully intricate, accented by mellow flugelhorn and subtle piano preparations. They played open-ended compositions with open improvisation; they played something like jazz and something like new music; and they played together with never a misstep. The point of a term like musique actuelle, or "music of the present," is to defy definition, but there could be worse things than if the Miles Perkin Quartet was offered up, by way of example, as a definition of the art.
All Photos: Martin Morissette