Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

908

London Jazz Festival 2008

Frederick Bernas By

Sign in to view read count
London Jazz Festival 2008
London, England
Nov. 14-23, 2008


Ken Vandermark, Barry Guy, Mark Sanders
The Vortex
November 14

In a meticulously unplanned concert, the music often seemed like a sonic battle between these three renowned improvisers. Sporting a black fitted tee and a hairstyle that could be straight from the Police Academy films, Vandermark was the dominant voice. On tenor saxophone and occasionally clarinet, his signature wailing, guttural, distorted screams interchanged with lithely melodic phrases and deft percussive passages. Sanders and Guy were largely in the background, providing a constant stream of ideas and demonstrating why they are so highly regarded amongst the European avant-garde. Guy in particular employed a number of extended techniques, utilizing all parts of his five-string double bass and performing on-the-job customizations such as jamming a drumstick under the strings, or using a soft-headed beater to produce gentle ripples of sound during quieter movements. Certainly a spectacular opening for the promising festival program, it would be hard for any subsequent performance to surpass the sheer creative intensity on display this Friday night.



Bill Frisell

Barbican Centre

November 15

The idea of a band playing live to accompany films is becoming very fashionable: Courtney Pine and Steven Bernstein are, along with Frisell, artists who have experimented with the concept. Frisell's trio tonight provided the soundtrack for a series of short pieces, from abstract insectile cartoons to a couple of delightful Buster Keaton slapsticks. With such a volume of audio and visual stimuli assaulting the senses, it was difficult to simultaneously focus attention on both music and moving images. However, the band, comprising Kenny Wollesen on drums and Tony Scherr on bass, always produced something to fit the occasion—whether stretching out in illustrative soundscapes or employing highly synchronized compositions with clever and perfectly-timed sound effects from the drummer. Always the individual stylist, Frisell stamped his mark on everything they played, his instantly recognizable tone ringing out with influences heavy in rock and country as much as jazz. The only drawback was that, occasionally, there was not a lot of variation in the overall sound produced for different films.



Richard Galliano and Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Queen Elizabeth Hall

November 16

A truly dreadful opening act featuring Romanian violinist Alexander Balanescu and Russian accordionist/singer Evelina Petrova went on for much too long without going anywhere musically; it wasn't even jazz. Galliano and Rubalcaba did not appear as a duo until after 10 p.m., following brief solo recitals from both. The fleet-fingered French accordion player ran through a series of short tunes, including Astor Piazzolla's classic "Libertango," with typically passionate Gallic flair. Rubalcaba's formidable touch was not employed to its fullest extent at any stage. His hands danced around the keys, but he seems to have developed a calmer, more restrained and exploratory attitude—there were no blistering runs, but his harmonic and rhythmic inventiveness was equally spectacular for those listening carefully. As a duo, they were engaging and communicative, giving each other space to play and not going over the top. A few more tempo changes would have been pleasing, but on the whole an impressive and vibrant performance.



Chris Potter

Ronnie Scott's

November 17

What hasn't been said about Chris Potter? Deserved critical praise has been sent his way from all angles, including for the current 'Underground' project featuring Craig Taborn (Fender Rhodes), Adam Rogers (guitar) and Nate Smith (drums). All were in fine form at Ronnie's, with the band's groove-oriented aesthetic laid bare for a packed house to enjoy. Potter's tenor sax (and occasional bass clarinet) cut through an intriguing web of guitar and Rhodes as they melted together lavishly, with either Rogers or Taborn keeping an eye on the low frequencies to compensate for the lack of bassist. The saxophonist's brutally rhythmic improvisational attack is perfectly suited to this kind of upbeat setting—the band has mastered the art of carefully growing each tune, gently rising in volume and intensity to push any soloist to his limits. And the repertoire wasn't restricted to fast-paced blitzing assaults, with Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell covers thrown in for a bit of mellow variety.



Robert Glasper

Cargo


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Henry Threadgill at Tilton Gallery Live Reviews Henry Threadgill at Tilton Gallery
by Kurt Gottschalk
Published: December 10, 2017
Read The Brian McCarthy Quartet At FlynnSpace Live Reviews The Brian McCarthy Quartet At FlynnSpace
by Doug Collette
Published: December 10, 2017
Read Mindi Abair at The Empress Theatre Live Reviews Mindi Abair at The Empress Theatre
by Walter Atkins
Published: December 8, 2017
Read BAN BAM: Music Talking Live Reviews BAN BAM: Music Talking
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 7, 2017
Read David Amram 87th Birthday Celebration at the Falcon Live Reviews David Amram 87th Birthday Celebration at the Falcon
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 6, 2017
Read Christian McBride and Tip City at Village Vanguard Live Reviews Christian McBride and Tip City at Village Vanguard
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 5, 2017
Read "The Cookers at Nighttown" Live Reviews The Cookers at Nighttown
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "Omar Sosa Residency at SFJAZZ" Live Reviews Omar Sosa Residency at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: May 8, 2017
Read "Diane Schuur at Birdland" Live Reviews Diane Schuur at Birdland
by Tyran Grillo
Published: November 20, 2017
Read "36th International Tampere Jazz Happening" Live Reviews 36th International Tampere Jazz Happening
by John Ephland
Published: December 4, 2017
Read "38th International Jazzfestival Saalfelden" Live Reviews 38th International Jazzfestival Saalfelden
by Enrico Bettinello
Published: September 15, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!