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TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
June 25thJuly 4th 2010
Remnants of this year's Winter Olympics from February have seemingly been cleared right out of the city of Vancouver. For the first week of this year's 25th anniversary of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival (VIJF), you'd never know trekking to and from any one of the 40 stages and venues- -stretching from Kitsalano through Granville Island and up into the Gastown areathat this beautiful northwest coastal city was recently bustling as the focal point of the entire world.
In the place of the since closeted Olympic banners, festival signage (admittedly of a conservative, corporate forest green: TD being one of Canada's big banks) were strategically strewn throughout the city. And from June 25th, the first day of the VIJF (which culminates on July 4th), that focus was firmly re-planted back on to the Canadian city with an emphasis, for starters, on the inclusion of the word "International" in the festival name itself. Unique global bookings range from Germany's Globe Unity Orchestra to Holland's Eric Boeren with Han Bennink
, Finland's Mikko Innanen
, Norway's Nils Petter Molvaer
, England's Evan Parker
, Switzerland's Lucas Niggli and Fredy Studer, Denmark's Ibrahim Electric, Poland's Tomasz Stanko
and Americans ranging from Chick Corea
to Nicole Mitchell
. In addition, Vancouver also knows how to flaunt their own talent, and a surplus their schedule of events reveals (unfortunately many who rarely make it to NYC, hence a trip to VIJF being in order) including clarinetist Francois Houle, saxophonist Coat Cooke, cellist Peggy Lee, guitarist Tony Wilson, pianists Paul Plimley and Chris Gestrin and drummers Terry Clarke and Dylan van der Schyff. A big hats off to Artistic Director Ken Pickering and his staff for continuing to present such a unique and daring festival year in and year out.Day 1
The blatant theme for the first days of the festival was the showcasing of various offshoots of the 11-member Globe Unity Orchestra (GUO) in various contexts, featuring fellow GUO bandmates with Vancouverite musicians in many cases, leading up to the grand event itself on Sunday night (GUO at The Roundhouse).
Such a microcosm at an early afternoon Granville Island Performance Works concert featured GUO trombonists Johannes Bauer and Christof Thewes, saxophonist Henrik Walsdorff, trumpeter Jean-Luc Cappozzo and drummer Paul Lytton. The ensemble camaraderie was obviously accentuated in this smaller context, and often they resembled a New Orleans- style small group at their core with collective improvising rampant. On many occasions of course this subgroup further subdivided into even smaller configurations that displayed the empathy and dynamic possibilities amongst the individuals such as when Bauer and Cappozzo tiptoed a duo with short paced steps before Thewes and Lytton joined in, creating a delightful drunken, even briefly violent, stupor. Bauer of course is a master of sound effects on his instrument (as can be heard on any number of his solo trombone records), extended techniques that go well beyond mere note playing. His extensive bouncing lip solo brought forth blurred motor-like sounds that vividly captured one of the seaplanes coming in for a landing in Northern Vancouver's Coal Harbour just under Stanley Parkkind of Vancouver's equivalent to Central Park. Cappozzo frequently waved his finger as if swimming through time signatures like a kid gliding his arm outside the car window like a dolphin leaping in and out of water. The quintet's final piece was a 2-minute miniature featuring both trombonists to the fore, one of several memorable moments capturing the two, revealing well-spent time together on the bandstand with the GUO and foreshadowing what was to come with them in the band's brass section.