All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

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...

8

Brilliant Corners 2017

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
It’s the culture and the beautiful things that a society produces, those are the things that should survive for thousands of years–not the designer jeans. —Frank Zappa
Brilliant Corners 2017
Various Venues
Belfast, N. Ireland
March 7-11, 2017

In just five years, Brilliant Corners—Belfast's only jazz festival—has earned a reputation for adventurous programing. The 2017 edition went one further, with the inclusion of alt rock and electronic music stretching the boundaries of what constitutes a jazz festival these days.

Or perhaps not, for as jazz celebrates its first centenary it's practically the norm throughout Europe—and elsewhere—that other styles of music usually feature on jazz festival programs. If such artistic license is what's required to grow jazz audiences and bring younger people in through the doors then it can hardly be a bad thing, as long as jazz—in all its variations—makes up the guts of any festival program.

Brilliant Corners 2017 was, without a doubt, primarily focused on jazz and its close relatives, with purely improvised performances, straight-ahead ensembles and Charles Mingus-inspired tribute catering for a broad spectrum of jazz fans. In addition, improvisation workshops for youth and the screening of several films provided a welcome educational aspect to the festival.

Pleasingly, attendance was extremely healthy for all the concerts. About one third of the audience were regulars at gigs put on throughout the year by Moving On Music—the promotors behind Brilliant Corners and so much of Belfast's best live music—while the remainder were newcomers to Brilliant Corners, many taking a punt on a spot of live music without knowing anything about the bands on show. This, combined with the fairly wide age-range and the notable gender balance of the audiences, were also signs that Moving On Music is doing something right.

Sirene 1009/Faint +

Improvised music on a wet Tuesday night isn't everybody's cup of tea, but they're a hardy lot in Belfast, immune to the often lousy weather that afflicts this small, westerly outpost of Europe. The venue was the Sonic Arts Research Centre, the first purpose built facility of its kind in Ireland and the UK, which was opened in 2004 by Karlheinz Stockhausen—one of the twentieth century's most important composers, particularly in the field of electronic music.

SARC conducts cutting edge research into multiple aspects of the creation and projection of sound, and regularly hosts concerts to boot. These concerts at SARC are a must for hi-fi heads, as where else are you going to experience live music through forty eight speakers, positioned around, above and beneath you?

Two bands served up music rooted in the free-improvisation tradition. Although there were obvious stylistic differences between the two, there was also much in common in an idiom that embraced collective and individual freedom.

It was appropriate that Faint should open Brilliant Corners in this particular venue, given that drummer Steve Davis, saxophonist Franziska Schroeder and pianist Pedro Rebelo came together following an impromptu meeting at SARC in 2007. Unfortunately, and for reasons unstated, Rebelo was unable to make the gig, but the trio remained a trio with the inclusion of guest cellist Ricardo Jenkins, thus making Faint+.

Exploring the lesser aired textures and phonic possibilities of their respective instruments from the outset—breathy saxophone exhalations, rasping cello notes and restless percussive sonorities that included arco-teased cymbals—the trio's approach was based on the push and pull of collective improvisation. Tentative at first, longer and more insistent braying notes from Schroeder provoked an upsurge in Davis and Jenkins' animation.

Percussive maelstrom, dissonant saxophone sounds and trembling bass rose like a powerful wave, and, predictably perhaps, broke at its zenith to then subside once more, an edgy, meditative calm prevailing after twenty minutes of exploration. The second and final piece stemmed from Davis' opening moves, a more easily defined rhythmic pattern inviting immediate impetus from the other two musicians. Compared to the dissonance and sometimes fractured nature of the opening improvisation, Schroeder's bolder soloing, buoyed by more pointed rhythmic intent, seemed like a glorious resolution to pent-up tensions—for the performers and audience alike.

It was unlikely that many in the audience remained indifferent to this trio's probing dialogues, where the spectre of the unknown held almost permanent sway.

The quartet Sirene 1009 is, appropriately enough, named after an asteroid whose orbit crosses that of Mars, for the music purveyed by guitarist Han-earl Park, double bassist Dominic Lash, drummer Mark Sanders and vocalist Caroline Pugh was pretty out there.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

All of Time

All of Time

David Binney
Graylen Epicenter

Everybody's Wonderland

Everybody's Wonderland

David Binney
In the Paint

Wild Child

Wild Child

David Binney
Out of Airplanes

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
  • Opus by AAJ Italy Staff
Read more articles
The Time Verses

The Time Verses

Criss Cross
2017

buy
Anacapa

Anacapa

Criss Cross
2014

buy
 

Lifted Land

Criss Cross
2013

buy
 

Opus

Unit Records
2012

buy
Barefooted Town

Barefooted Town

Criss Cross
2011

buy

Related Articles

Read European Jazz Conference 2018 Live Reviews
European Jazz Conference 2018
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 25, 2018
Read The Magpie Salute At The Grand Point North Festival 2018 Live Reviews
The Magpie Salute At The Grand Point North Festival 2018
by Doug Collette
Published: September 23, 2018
Read Chris Isaak at The Paramount in Huntington, NY Live Reviews
Chris Isaak at The Paramount in Huntington, NY
by Christine Connallon
Published: September 23, 2018
Read Detroit Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Detroit Jazz Festival 2018
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews
Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia 2018 Live Reviews
Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia...
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2018
Read "Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC Winter Jazzfest" Live Reviews Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 15, 2018
Read "Big Ears Festival 2018" Live Reviews Big Ears Festival 2018
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 13, 2018
Read "Berlin Jazzfest 2017" Live Reviews Berlin Jazzfest 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: November 13, 2017
Read "Nnenna Freelan With The Charleston Jazz Orchestra at Charleston Music Hall" Live Reviews Nnenna Freelan With The Charleston Jazz Orchestra at...
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: January 24, 2018
Read "Tallinn Music Week 2018" Live Reviews Tallinn Music Week 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: April 19, 2018
Read "Dixie Dregs at Lincoln Theatre" Live Reviews Dixie Dregs at Lincoln Theatre
by Eric Thiessen
Published: March 18, 2018