Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

12

Bray Jazz Festival 2017

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
Switching to banjo and attaching little pegs to the strings, Carstensen paid brief homage to John Cage's "Music for Prepared Piano," and as the pegs were removed one by one, the music gradually morphed into bluegrass stomp. A melancholy traditional Norwegian tune on accordion, a foot-stomping Bulgarian sheppard's tune played on kaval with the breathy virtuosity of Roland Kirk, a racy Transylvanian fiddle tune transported to accordion and a sung version of Fred Tillman's "I Love You So Much It Hurts Me" revealed the breadth of Carstensen's folkloric and popular roots.

Yet all the joking and vaudeville entertainment that were a part of Carstensen's stagecraft couldn't detract from a technique as rich in harmonic sophistication, rhythmic panache and contrapuntal dexterity as the very finest concert pianist, and an improvisatory flare to rival any jazz musician.

The final piece saw Carstensen entwine beauty and gravitas in a Bach-esque, church organ-inspired recital that was hypnotic and uplifting, much like the concert as a whole.

Lionel Loueke

A trio of equals, Lionel Loueke, bassist Massimo Biolcati and drummer Ferenc Nemeth have been playing together for eighteen years, since studying together at Berklee College of Music and although they had plenty of material to draw from the set was largely taken from Gaïa (Blue Note Records, 2015).

The trio's intuitive interplay was in evidence from the first notes of the melodically and rhythmically African-colored "Dream." Loueke's embrace of jazz has gradually opened over the years to allow more space for his Benin roots to shine but this was a performance of even more expansive ambition.

Loueke's pedals-driven guitar improvisation on the spirited "Broken" conjured jazz-fusion evocative of Herbie Hancock—an early mentor for the guitarist. Homage to Carlos Santana came with a slow-burning take on (Peter Green's) "Black Magic Woman" and the (Babatunde Olatunji's) drum feature "Jingo." Loueke's measured blues-funk and the spacious groove on the former was more James Blood Ulmer, however, than Santana.

On the elegant "Aziza Dance" African melodicism and rhythmic compass, funk and blues-tinged jazz merged seamlessly. Loueke, like Bill Frisell, has a little of the musical alchemist about him in the way he blends colors and textures to create something new yet familiar. The up-tempo version of the Bee Gee's "How Deep is Your Love" that closed the set saw Louke at his most fluid and George Benson-esque. Without pausing for breath, the trio launched a danceable African groove, closing the concert on a feel-good note.

The Firebirds

Danish trio The Firebirds returned to The Well following their afternoon workshop to deliver a powerful set of classically-inspired compositions, compromised somewhat by the problems keyboardist Anders Filipsen experienced with the bass function on his keys.

By happy coincidence, the trio's new CD inspired by the music of Danish composer Carl Nielsen, Aladdin's Dream (ILK, 2017),was released that same day and it was with the progressive tonalities of Nielsen's "Little Suite For Strings" (1886) that the trio's adventure embarked. From a grooving chamber jazz opening evocative of The Doors, Stefan Pasborg's polyrhythmic bustle gradually steered the music into headier terrain, with Anders Banke's tenor saxophone soaring over Filipsen's reggae-tinged chords.

Bake switched between clarinet and saxophone during Pasborg's arrangement of three segments of Igor Stravinsky's Firebird Suite. The dreamy minimalism of "Introduction"—all washing cymbals and organ drone—gave way to the rhythmically complex, melodically striking "The Princesses' Game with the Golden Apples," which was followed by "Infernal Dance of All Kashchei's Subjects," a stonking passage characterized by expansive improvisatory excursions.

The centre-piece, excerpts from Stravinsky's iconic Rite of Spring, contained all the violence, beauty and gravitas of the original, with the trio's orchestral ambition matched by the originality of its execution. Three movements from Nielsen's Aladdin Suite passed from exotic Arabic sonorities—fired by Banke's tenor—through sombre, church-service reverie to fiery free-jazz. The encore, Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian's "Saber Dance," fused R&B bounce and Ellingtonian swing in irresistible fashion, with an exhilarating solo from Pasborg putting a personal seal on this most original and compelling of projects.

Day Two

Julian Colarossi Organ Trio

Tags

Listen

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Album Reviews
  • Body by Luca Canini
Radio
Album Reviews
  • Body by Mark Sullivan
  • Body by Mike Jurkovic
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Catching Up With
Live Reviews
Extended Analysis
Album Reviews
  • Open by Mark Corroto
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Body

Body

Northern Spy Records
2018

buy
Unfold

Unfold

Ideologic Organ
2017

buy
Vertigo

Vertigo

Northern Spy Records
2016

buy
Vertigo

Vertigo

Northern Spy Records
2015

buy
The Necks: Open

The Necks: Open

ReR Megacorp
2014

buy
Open

Open

Northern Spy Records
2013

buy

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Live Reviews
Brilliant Corners 2019
By Ian Patterson
March 19, 2019
Live Reviews
A Bowie Celebration: The David Bowie Alumni Tour at Irving Plaza
By Mike Perciaccante
March 16, 2019
Live Reviews
Cheap Trick with Aaron Lee Tasjan at The NYCB Theatre at Westbury
By Mike Perciaccante
March 16, 2019
Live Reviews
Seun Kuti and Africa 80 at Brick & Mortar
By Harry S. Pariser
March 14, 2019
Live Reviews
Live From Paris: Danyèl Waro, Beñat Achiary & Haffyd H
By Martin Longley
March 13, 2019