Ljubljana Jazz Festival: Ljubljana, Slovenia, June 20–29, 2012
Lane is the type of player based in improvised as well as contemporary composed music, having written works including a string quartet and a bass clarinet concerto. Some of his formative artistic references and teachers include Anthony Braxton, Wadada Leo Smith, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Klaus Huber, and the outstanding Italian bass virtuoso Stefano Scodanibbio. He worked with Darius Jones on the alto saxophonist's Man'ish Boy (AUM Fidelity, 2009); has a trio with saxophonist John Tchicai, trumpeter Paul Smoker and drummer Barry Altschul, and appears on the "Bawlers" segment of singer/songwriter Tom Waits' Orphans (ANTI-, 2006). Lane is an accomplished bassist, capable of propelling an ensemble of this format, quickly bringing about sophisticated transitions and opening up space for cutting edge improvisation. The group had a great tight/loose feeling with a classic jazz sound, well-balanced but unusual figures and solid solo work.
This festival edition had an emphasis on trumpet. The first evening introduced three of them, from different generations: Joe McPhee (1939), Nate Wooley (1974) and Susana Santos Silva (1979). Wooley is a highly demanded and ubiquitous player; Silva is a member of the outstanding Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos, last heard on singer Maria João & OJM's Amoras e Framboesas (Universal 2011), is a member of the egalitarian Lama trio of Oneiros (Clean Feed, 2011), and released her own trio debut, Devil's Dress (2011), on the Portugese TOAP label. McPhee also performed solo the next day, along with the other trumpet-besieger of the moment, Peter Evans. Evans and Wooley then paired and teamed up with percussionists Jim Black and Paul Lytton to play the premièring concert of this brand new combination. This première would be preceded by a performance of Silva's Lama Trio. Last, but not least, new trumpet voice Ibrahim Maalouf performed on the finishing night at Križanke.
June 29: Abstract Society
This day started with Joe McPhee's solo performance in the small Štih amphitheater of Cjankar house. Standing in the middle of the audience, McPhee revealed much more than in his duo performance with Flaten the previous night, evoking plenty of curiosity. McPhee worked in two parts: first on pocket trumpet, then on saxophone. He created fascinating multiphonics, with a simultaneously sung melody coming from far and deep inside; he was able to do this whistling, too.
McPhee refuses to be restricted in his imagination, and the idea of bringing it into reality. Watching and listening to him play is a special experience. His sounds develop without waiting for or being forced into something special or sensational, whereas his efforts to open up and enter the sound domains of his playing are easy to feel. This reinforces confidence and openness, and leads to a joyful, creative listening experience.
The second solo concert was given by advanced trumpeter Peter Evans (1981). Watching Evans play, it is hard to believe that what was being heard was the sound of just one (pocket) trumpetwhether or not it was the first time experiencing him live. Evans, who started in the New York scene nine years ago, is now famous as trumpet innovator, and as a member of the bands Carnivalskin (with Klaus Kugel and Bruce Eisenbeil), Mostly Other People Do the Killing (with Jon Irabagon, Moppa Elliott and Kevin Shea), and his collaborations with other artists including Evan Parker, Nate Wooley and Tom Blancarte. Circular breathing, different kinds of multiphonics, hyper-rapid tone sequences, all kinds of loudness and whispers, it was all manifested in his dazzling playing.