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...

1

Kerava Jazz 2018

Kerava Jazz 2018
Anthony Shaw By

Sign in to view read count
With the support of the city fathers, Kerava Festival hosts a shimmering array of instrumental music from the far reaches of the jazz catalogue.
Kerava Jazz Festival
Kerava, Finland
May 25-27, 2018

The town of Kerava plays as much roll in the lives of most Finns as just its fleeting name on the station that express trains speed through on their way to the capital Helsinki, 20 miles south. Or for the international traveler it's maybe the glimpse of an grey suburb huddled around a lakeshore as one's plane descends to the capital's airport at Vantaa. But on a weekend once a year, and for the last 27, this rather sleepy Finnish commuter town has played host to a variety of jazz luminaries such as Anthony Braxton, Bill Frisell, John McLaughlin and many more.

The festival is held over the last weekend in May, at the time when many artists are beginning their European summer tour, and hosts a handful of international artists performing at the main venue, the predictably concrete and glass concert hall now called Keuda Hall just a stone's throw from the station in the spacious modern town center. However, equally importantly, the festival sees a number of free concerts usually featuring younger Finnish artists. These included this year student ensemble Njet Njet 9, guitar/drum duo Milo and Moses, as well as veteran saxophonist Pertti Lahti. This is part of the reason why Kerava Jazz has to be considered a festival dedicated to pure jazz, and typically of the most intense, challenging variety.

Two concerts formed the focus for four headline acts this year, and my participation in the second of these convinced me that to have taken in the whole day's program would have been truly demanding! The first two shows saw the duo of Joachim Berghäll and Antti Kujanpää who are two younger musicians from Helsinki's lively music scene, where distinct genres and styles have long since ceased to exist. They have both played in a variety of bands, but Kerava was their first time playing together as a duo, and it will be interesting to see if they find a regular market for their kind of sometimes whimsical, adventurous ethnic jazz. By contrast Svenska Kaputt is a Swedish band with clear influences of Nordic jazz-rock of the previous century, picking up some of the sounds of Norwegian guitarist Terje Rypdal, as well as some shared members with Norwegian contemporaries Elephant9. Jonas Kullhammar on sax and Reine Fiske on guitar are both veterans of the Nordic crossover scene, the latter having recently been playing with metal/noise pioneers Motorpsycho. Their music in this line up is less unrestrained but still a good contrast to the more fanciful style of Berghäll and Kujanpää.

The second major concert was also in the 400 seater state of the art hall, which was about one third full with a fairly hard-core jazz audience. The music of cornetist and performance artist Rob Mazurek and drummer Chad Taylor of Chicago Underground, accompanied on this tour by Englishman John Edwards (on bass) and Alexander Hawkins (on piano) is also pretty hard-core. And that applied from the first, initial unannounced slap on the back Thomson's contrabass, to Mazurek's nonchalant dropping of his bell/cowbell musical lei near the end of the encore. With Mazurek alone out front, having been accompanied earlier on the tour by Evan Parker, the rolling free exploration frequently pivoted on his wheedling cornet, or at one point a spoken word narration. But this was a group performance in the true sense of excellent musicians collaborating at a level of unspoken communication that went at times in four different directions at the same time. Truly mind-expanding.

Again by contrast, Frenchman Régis Huby 's Quartet playing his work Equal Crossing was a performance strictly confined to the leader's composition, which itself is based on ideas from Claude Levi-Strauss' anthropological text 'Race and History.' Where the preceding Underground had reveled in the enthusiasm of the moment, Huby's piece was ever thoughtful and intriguing but very measured. With a lot of electronics on hand, especially from Huby's violin and Bruno Angellini's Fender Rhodes and Moog, not to forget Michele Rabbia's box of tricks beside his drum kit, the directness of Marc Ducret's guitar sound was quite refreshing. If his urgent, intricate style was compromised by the requirements of the piece's structure it didn't prevent him from being the focus of visual attention with his gaunt appearance and pterodactyl contortions.

The three lengthy instrumental pieces define Huby's compositional work as music for internal reflection, very different from Mazarek's instant sensual gratification.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

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 Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood Vampires, Black Asteroids & Paul Lamb Live Reviews
Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood...
by Martin Longley
Published: September 16, 2018
Read "Jon Faddis at The Wheel" Live Reviews Jon Faddis at The Wheel
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 20, 2018
Read "Never Alone: Reflections on the 2018 Winter Jazzfest" Live Reviews Never Alone: Reflections on the 2018 Winter Jazzfest
by Tyran Grillo
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "Kyle Taylor Parker at The Green Room 42" Live Reviews Kyle Taylor Parker at The Green Room 42
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 17, 2018