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...

3

Edgefest 2017: Give the Drummers Some, Part 2-2

Troy Dostert By

Sign in to view read count
Friday's headliners were Larry Ochs's Fictive Five. Although the group usually appears in a two- bass quintet format, with Pascal Niggenkemper alongside Ken Filiano, it was just Filiano on Friday; even so, the group stuck with the "Fictive Five" moniker for the performance, which was a fitting culmination to a night of exceptional creativity. Tenor/sopranino saxophonist Ochs is an Edgefest stalwart, having appeared at the festival many times over the years, and he obviously felt right at home in leading his group through a wide-ranging set of music that highlighted his complex compositions but left plenty of room for top-flight improvisation. With a stellar line-up that includes Nate Wooley on trumpet and Harris Eisenstadt on drums in addition to Ochs and Filiano, this band can do anything it wants. There was ferocity galore, as Ochs can take his horn into the stratosphere at the drop of a hat (and Wooley's no slouch in that regard, either); but perhaps the most stimulating moments were the more subdued ones, in which the group slowed things down and generated a more mysterious mood. Wooley's hallmark extended techniques ensured that texture was a crucial component of the group's sound, and Filiano's multifaceted creativity allowed the bass to become an essential feature of the band's musicality. Not to be ignored was the outstanding drum work of Eisenstadt, whose waves of percussive momentum were pivotal in negotiating the fluidity of Ochs's compositions. A challenging, expertly-played set of music, as one can always expect from musicians of this caliber.

Saturday's programming at Edgefest is truly an all-day affair, starting with the community parade that winds its way down North Fourth Avenue at noon. This year's parade was bigger than ever, helped in part by the gorgeous, unseasonably warm weather. With close to 100 middle-school students leading the way under the unflappable guidance of Andrew Drury and with many Edgefest attendees and other members of the community joining in, the parade honored the 100th birthday of Dizzy Gillespie by playing and singing "Happy Birthday, Dizzy Gillespie" to the melody of his classic "Manteca." Drury connected wonderfully with the students, and it truly brought the spirit of jazz into the community, an ideal way to celebrate the birth of one of jazz's greatest ambassadors.

The afternoon's programming was varied and engaging, starting with Detroit-based drummer GayeLynn McKinney's duo with electronic percussionist Ken Kozora. With a battery of electronic instruments and effects, Kozora brought a highly musical sensibility to his playing, whether in an abstract vein or in cranking out some Herbie Hancock-inspired funk. McKinney's versatility allowed her to stay in close communication with Kozora throughout the set, always keeping the beat at the center. Special guests made an appearance as well, with Michael G. Nastos providing a poem dedicated to the entire spectrum of Detroit drummers—everyone from J.C. Heard to Elvin Jones—and then Piotr Michalowski bringing out the bass clarinet for some sparring with Kozora on trumpet. A very enjoyable set, one that paved the way for the fireworks that followed from the Oluyemi Thomas Trio.

Fittingly for a festival dedicated to the drum, and in keeping with Nastos's Detroit homage, native Detroiter Thomas brought two Detroit-based drummers to the stage with him: Djallo Djakate Kieta and Kurt Prisbe. Reminiscent of the days of raw energy music from the 60s avant-garde, Thomas brought jaw-dropping intensity to his bass clarinet and tenor saxophone, and he used a range of other woodwinds to enhance the scope of his performance. One could feel the way in which the drummers' collective force gathered steam behind Thomas's tumultuous flights, and just when the intensity seemed at its highest, Thomas's brother Kenn scampered across the stage for a turn at the piano, pounding the keys with abandon. Kenn Thomas is well-known to Southeast Michigan jazz fans as he's a resident of Ann Arbor, but his appearance at the festival was a surprise that delighted the audience with the additional gale- force power he brought to the music. For its sheer elemental force, this group's performance was tough to top.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Orphic Machine

Orphic Machine

Bag Production Records
2015

buy
Go Home

Go Home

BAG Production
2010

buy
Go Home

Go Home

BAG Production
2009

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Feb28Thu
Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom
An Die Musik Live
Baltimore, MD
$10-25
Feb28Thu
Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom
An Die Musik Live
Baltimore, MD
$10-25
Mar3Sun
Darren Johnston Sextet
Chez Hanny
San Francisco, CA
$25

Shop

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

Related Articles

Live Reviews
The 2019 Tibet House U.S. Benefit Concert
By Mike Perciaccante
February 17, 2019
Live Reviews
JAZZTOPAD 2018
By Henning Bolte
February 16, 2019
Live Reviews
America At The Paramount
By Mike Perciaccante
February 16, 2019
Live Reviews
Brussels Jazz Festival 2019
By Martin Longley
February 15, 2019
Live Reviews
Gourmet At April Jazz Club
By Anthony Shaw
February 13, 2019
Live Reviews
Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science at Cologne Philharmonic
By Phillip Woolever
February 12, 2019
Live Reviews
Quentin Baxter Quintet At The Jazz Corner
By Martin McFie
February 12, 2019