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Jazzin' Around Europe

Tampere Jazz Happening 2003

By Published: November 6, 2003

The Electrics – a most appropriate name for a completely acoustic quartet – opened the musical proceedings. They are a northern European group formed by musicians well known for their wide network of collaborations, in particular Strid played with Marilyn Crispell. They manage to combine the microscopic movements of minimal european improvisation with a soft, cool sound somewhat reminiscent of Gerry Mulligan’s pianoless quartet, especially when saxophonist Sture Ericson shifts to the baritone and drummer Raymond Strid sticks to brushes. Axel Dorner’s instrument does not look like a trumpet, nor does it sound like a trumpet, and his inclusion of vocal sounds, breathing and gurgling noises expands the vocabulary of the instrument building on the tradition of Rex Stewart, Lester Bowie, Leo Smith and Bill Dixon.

The Scorch trio led by Finnish guitarist Raoul Bjorkenheim was, you guessed, scorching. The popularity of the instrument truly escapes me, and the references to classic rock “power trios” were lost on my ears, which refused at some point further scorching. Uri Caine’s Bedrock Trio was to me slightly disappointing, mainly because I’d rather hear his piano playing than some electronic keyboard; I also fail to understand the import of DJ Olive’s contributions. However, Caine is nothing less than a genius and a musical explorer, so there’s always something striking in his music, and bassist Tim Lefebvre with drummer Zach Danziger laid out ever changing, mesmerizing grooves.

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