European Jazz Network General Assembly: Bari, Italy, September 27-30, 2012
The contributors of the parts and the orchestra conveying the whole had to cope with a number of tensions: tension of hymnal gratitude and radical time restriction; the possibilities of a big ensemble and extreme time restrictions; of gloriousness and understatement; and of unfolding and abrupt leaps. 23 variations of a solution that is worth being documented, and would give some insight into the state of art. All the contributions were highly ambitious and tried to satisfy explicit and implicit expectations in different ways. Now and then, irony and parody made their way into the music. Some musicians got into playing around with the orchestra and the hymn-concept in a sophisticated way, like British pianist Matthew Bourne, who turned out to be the only musician who had worked previously with Instabile, or Estonian guitarist Jaak Sooäär. Maria Faust and Emile Parisien's contributions also left a mark.
The contributors, in chronological order of performance, were: Fulco Ottervanger (Belgium); Kaja Draksler (Slovenia); Maria Faust (Denmark); Cecilia Persson (Sweden); Prieto Andrés Rojas (Spain); Istvan Grencso (Hungary); Jaak Sooäär (Estland); Mikko Hassinen (Finland); Didrik Ingvald (Norway); Selen Gülün (Turkey); Susana Santos Silva (Portugal); Urs Rollin (Switzerland); Elvis Stanic (Croatia); Laura McDonald (Scotland); Toni Kitanovsky (Macedonia); Dylan Rynhart (Ireland); Matthew Bourne (England); Martin Brunn (Czechia); Emile Parisien (France); Stefan Schultze (Germany); Bram Stadhouders (Netherlands); Dainius Pulauskas (Lituania); and Giancarlo Schiaffini (Italy).
The Beat of Instable Norms
Among the 23 contributors, there were, at least, five women. Or, articulated another way, there were only five women. It all depends on point of view. In the deep south of Puglia, financial resources are being spent to develop music life and music business. Sweden, in the high north, is setting out to develop new potentials via norm-critical approaches in musical activities of all kinds, and spending resources for the development of broader educational programs aimed at enabling young people to free themselves, in a productive way, from the fears and restrictions that commonly impede creativity.
This initiative not only concerns gender roles and stereotypes but also ways of interaction, attitudes when playing, recording, promoting music, stylistic routines and more. It has to prove if this kind of approach to practice(s) in music-making-for jazz and improvised music-can develop, and be transformed in the long run so that new potentials will emerge, opening up the musical playing field for the projections and identifications of future generations.
The crew of Music Development and Heritage Sweden, a governmental organization, has provided the initial incentive with zest-something that will also be sympathetic and promising for supranational cooperation. It will be a good starting point for Trondheim, Norway where next year's assembly will take place.
All Photos: Henning Bolte