Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.


October Revolution in Jazz & Contemporary Music 2017

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Claire Chase, a MacArthur Fellow, provided the festival's most participatory experience for the audience. After a set of flute/electronic interactions, she incorporated fifteen volunteers to play triangles, crystal glassed filled with water, and bottles at her cues, ending the set with a performance of Pauline Oliveros's "Tuning Meditation," where the entire audience was solicited to sing varying tones creating a meditation of sound.

Anthony Braxton's solo performance with alto saxophone showed great industry. Where he could have easily delivered a tempered performance, the saxophonist seemed determined to show some mettle. He quickly worked up a sweat delivering repeated patterns and some awe-inspiring upper register circular breathing. His performance begged comparisons to his pioneering For Alto (Delmark, 1969), and was evidence the master is dedicated to pushing his instrument even further. His bebop covers of "Four" and a Thelonious Monk composition gave to context to his approach, allowing the audience to connect the dots even if they had no formal training. Braxton disassembled, then recreated compositions as if writing out a mathematical solution on a chalk board.

Composer John Luther Adams presented a performance of 24 French horns divided into choirs that strolled the Race Street Pier among a crowd of festival goers and surprised Saturday morning walkers and joggers stopping to blow notes that were cued by their mobile phones. In the same spirit as the Oliveros piece, Adam's music incorporated environmental sounds, such as passing trains, barking dogs and the wind. Listeners were given not only a 360-degree sound experience, but one that was mobile.

Saxophonist Tim Berne performed with drummer Ches Smith in guitarist David Torn's Sun of Goldfinger and in his own Snakeoil, which includes Smith, reed player Oscar Noriega and pianist Matt Mitchell. Where Torn's project was a free improvisation session creating something from nothing, Snakeoil builds improvisation upon the complex composition of Berne. Both Smith and Torn gleefully fiddled with electronics and Berne muddying the sound by placing a crinkly plastic water bottle in the bell of his horn. Working with changes in ferocity, the trio incorporated a blown amplifier into the set as if it was the strategy all along. Snakeoil worked with less freedom, yet delivered a more liberating sound. Berne's writing has always unchained improvisers. Here, both Noriega and, especially Mitchell, were given the framework for soloing.

The earliest edition of The Art Ensemble of Chicago was called The Roscoe Mitchell Art Ensemble. Significant for the fact that Mitchell is the only survivor of the 1960s AEC. This was evident in Saturday's performance when all current members took their cues from and deferred to Mitchell during their performance. Trumpeter Hugh Ragin, drummer Famoudou Don Moye, cellist Tomeka Reid, and bassists Jaribu Shahid and Junius Paul performed without extravagant costumes, spoken word, or the plethora of instruments for which the original AEC was known. Nonetheless, the ensemble did not disappoint as a collective. The highlight was, of course, Mitchell's lengthy circular breathing solo. The septuagenarian has seemingly boundless energy, and he ignited the crowd with a stellar display of technique.

When the organizers booked saxophonist Jim Sauter and drummer Kid Millions, they must have had a premonition of the hurricanes that were to strike the Gulf Coast and Puerto Rico and the forest fires that would rage in California. The pair were their own force of nature. Sauter of Borbetomagus performs with a tenor saxophone, but any suggestion it sounds like a saxophone is quickly dispelled, as he runs this horn through an amplifier employing six effect pedals. With Millions churning out a perpetual pulse the sound is not a subtle exercise in endurance, the words "onslaught" and "siege" come to mind. With all the noise the pair generates, time appears to slow leaving listeners feeling as though they are enveloped within a vat of Jello. Their performance was the most tactile of the weekend.


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read NYC Winter Jazzfest 2018 - The Friday Marathon Live Reviews NYC Winter Jazzfest 2018 - The Friday Marathon
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Nels and Alex Cline at The Jazz Bakery Live Reviews Nels and Alex Cline at The Jazz Bakery
by Jonathan Manning
Published: January 22, 2018
Read David Lyttle & Andreas Varady at Bennigans Jazz Club Live Reviews David Lyttle & Andreas Varady at Bennigans Jazz Club
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 22, 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 Tierney Sutton Band at the Newman Center Live Reviews Tierney Sutton Band at the Newman Center
by Geoff Anderson
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Vorcza at Nectar's Live Reviews Vorcza at Nectar's
by Doug Collette
Published: January 20, 2018
Read "Dawn Clement Trio at Kitano" Live Reviews Dawn Clement Trio at Kitano
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 14, 2017
Read "Karuna at LaFontsee Gallery" Live Reviews Karuna at LaFontsee Gallery
by John Ephland
Published: May 2, 2017
Read "Mat Maneri and Lucian Ban at Barbès" Live Reviews Mat Maneri and Lucian Ban at Barbès
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 7, 2017
Read "Herbie Hancock at the Gaillard Center Music Hall" Live Reviews Herbie Hancock at the Gaillard Center Music Hall
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: October 23, 2017
Read "Edgefest 2017: Give the Drummers Some, Part 1-2" Live Reviews Edgefest 2017: Give the Drummers Some, Part 1-2
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 30, 2017
Read "Green Man 2017" Live Reviews Green Man 2017
by Martin Longley
Published: November 11, 2017