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

Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville 2017

Mike Chamberlain By

Sign in to view read count
Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville
Victoriaville, Quebec, Canada
May 18-21, 2017

In Canada, the Monday closest to May 24, the birthday of Queen Victoria, is a public holiday (in Quebec it has two names: Journée des Patriotes or Fête du Dollard—it's complicated), and the Victoria Day long weekend is the unofficial start of Canada's summer. The Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville (FIMAV), held from the Thursday to Sunday of the Victoria Day weekend, can similarly be seen as an unofficial kickoff to the summer festival season. The 2017 Victo was the 33rd, and as the years move along, the festival has developed traditions (both formal and informal) of its own, among which is the ability to continue to evolve and surprise.

As usual the weather was changeable and frequently quite cool at night. The opening evening started at a humid +30C and ended a good 20 degrees celsius colder just a few hours later at 1:00 a.m. The pertinent information for this review is that, in those few hours, the collision of the cold and warm fronts caused a windstorm that resulted in a brief power outage during Colin Stetson's set. Apart from that, the weather was spring jacket friendly, ending in a gloriously sunny final day on Sunday. In a way, the weather matched the levels of the performances as the weekend went along, culminating in the shining brilliance of Anthony Braxton's solo performance on Sunday evening.

This edition of the festival, more than any before it, featured performances that employed visual images as an integral part of the presentation. In the regular program were Karl Lemieux and BJ Nilsen, Novi_Sad, and Michaela Gril with Maia Osijnik and Matija Schellander. Outside of the concert program were three films by Bruce Conner with soundtracks Terry Riley and short films by Alexandre Larose and Daïchi Saïto, which were presented in the Carré 150 cultural centre's black box room on an actual 35mm projector. The films were shown at times that did not interfere with the concert schedule, and this may be the beginning of a new thing. As FIMAV's artistic director Michel Levasseur said at his end of festival press conference, incorporating a film festival into the larger festival has long been a dream of his. With the facilities of the city of Victoriaville's new cultural centre, Carré 150, Levasseur has the most flexibility in terms of performance spaces that he has ever had to choose from, and he is taking good advantage of the available options.

A most successful series was the 1 p.m. acoustic concerts on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, thanks to the concordance between performers and space, Église Sainte-Christophe d'Arthabaska, a historic greystone structure from the 1870s, with a beautifully decorated interior and impeccable acoustics. It is the church where Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Canada's prime minister from 1896 to 1911, attended services during his holidays from government duties in Ottawa, and it was from Laurier's pew that I took in the performance of Tristan Honsinger (cello), Josh Zubot (violin), and Nicolas Caloia (contrebasse) on Friday. The three are all well-known to the Victo audience, but this concert was their first appearance as a unit at FIMAV. Comprised of compositions byall three members that were recorded in Vienna last fall but not yet released, the set was tight and detailed, intelligent and playful, full of romance, the arco playing resulting in beautifully layered overtones.

I have to admit that the idea of a tenor saxophone quartet is not so appealing to me on the face of it, but Battle Trance, who played Sainte-Christophe on Saturday, showed that such a configuration need not be monochromatic. The compositions of Travis Laplante are full of surprising twists and turns, and the playing was totally on top of the challenge. Again, the acoustics of the church allowed the quartet to fill the room with sound. Finally, on Sunday, Jean-Luc Guionnet, better-known as an alto saxophonist, totally demolished all standard preconceptions of what a church organ can do. Guionnet used a range of extended techniques to make the organ do things its makers or current caretakers certainly never envisioned and might not have been happy with, but which was totally enthralling in its power and joyful play of musician, instrument, and space.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Jazz Migration 2018 Live Reviews
Jazz Migration 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: December 13, 2018
Read Bessie Smith Empress of the Blues Tribute at The Cabot Live Reviews
Bessie Smith Empress of the Blues Tribute at The Cabot
by Doug Hall
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Joe Gransden's Big Band At Cafe 290 Live Reviews
Joe Gransden's Big Band At Cafe 290
by Martin McFie
Published: December 9, 2018
Read U2 at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin Live Reviews
U2 at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 9, 2018
Read David Johansen at The Space at Westbury Live Reviews
David Johansen at The Space at Westbury
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: December 9, 2018
Read Joshua Bowlus Trio at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews
Joshua Bowlus Trio at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: December 8, 2018
Read "Trondheim Jazzfest 2018" Live Reviews Trondheim Jazzfest 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: May 26, 2018
Read "WOMAD 2018" Live Reviews WOMAD 2018
by Martin Longley
Published: November 25, 2018
Read "Shipp / Lowe / Baker / Ray at Le Poisson Rouge" Live Reviews Shipp / Lowe / Baker / Ray at Le Poisson Rouge
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 13, 2018
Read "Jazz Jantar 2017" Live Reviews Jazz Jantar 2017
by Martin Longley
Published: December 21, 2017
Read "Bill Laswell/Milford Graves/John Zorn at The Stone" Live Reviews Bill Laswell/Milford Graves/John Zorn at The Stone
by Tyran Grillo
Published: December 22, 2017