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...

2

Sligo Jazz Project 2018: Days 3-4

James Fleming By

Sign in to view read count
High heels clicked on the concrete outside the Hawk’s Well Theatre. Cigarettes were lit, smoke went to the sky. Inside the bar-staff handed wines and pints across the counter, shouting prices over the conversation. The talk was of jazz. And the different accents bullied each other for the airwaves. The song of a night that has yet to begin. An atonal, arrhythmic overture. —James Fleming
Days 1-2 | Days 3-4

Sligo Jazz Project
Various Venues
Sligo, Ireland
July 24-29, 2018

July 26, 2018

When the wind died down the day turned humid and heavy. Clouds hung low in the sky, grey and oppressive. And as Sligo's people sipped their coffees and settled down at their desks, the electricity cut out at Sligo IT. Amplifiers and keyboards were rendered powerless. Putting a halt to the morning's planned classes.

Instead, Paul Clarvis led an impromptu percussion class outside on the college grounds. The low-slung sun moved across the sky as he directed the participants armed with a tambourine. And as the sun reached its noonday-apex, the power was restored. Allowing the afternoon's ensemble sessions to go ahead as scheduled.

In the heart of the college, Ciaran Wilde awaited the members of his ensemble. He chatted in-between running up and down scales on his alto. Telling self-deprecatory jokes and discussing jazz-journalists in his Northside Dublin accent. He told a story about how Charles Mingus would play his new compositions to jazz-writer Nat Hentoff down the phone. And talked about how in 1939, Duke Ellington stopped calling it jazz "because there's so many different styles of it."

His flow was interrupted by the arrival of his ensemble -"Youth Academy Two." A group of teenagers filed into the classroom, each one fist-bumping Wilde and saying "respect" in a display of mutual admiration. Just as the students admired Wilde's skill and expertise, he admired their dedication to learning. None of Wilde's instructions or insights were wasted. Instead, each direction was taken onboard by his band. And recognised for its knowledge, value, and wisdom.

The instrumentalists ranged from a trumpet, a clarinet, and flautists, to a bassist, a guitarist and a drummer. Who was the twin brother of the sole vocalist. Wilde directed them through the tune-up, running over some of the finer details of their chosen song for Sunday's approaching Big Bash.

He paced the room with his head bowed in concentration as the kids ran down their reggae-inflected version of The Zutons'/Amy Winehouse's "Valerie." Over the course of an hour he stopped and started them, making adjustments and giving advice -..."tempo tends to drag," "Brass was lovely." But most tellingly, after a successful run-through he went around to each ensemble-member and asked them "What are you happy with?"

It's rare in any classroom situation for the master to ask for the pupils' opinions. For as accomplished a musician as Wilde -who has worked with Van Morrison, The Pogues and many others -to take an active interest in what his students think of their own progress is a testament to his patience and skill as an educator.

By fostering the fine art of having an opinion, Wilde was helping to instil in his small band of the young generation one of the skills that grows into critical thinking. And in cultivating critical thinking, SJP ensured its continued reputation as an educational resource of the highest order.

The comic-prophet George Carlin once said "They don't want an educated populace capable of critical thought." "They" being what he called the teachers' "corporate masters." For a population of critical thinkers knows what is in its rights and its responsibilities. What rights it is entitled to and that it cannot be deprived of. And what responsibilities it holds to themselves and to each other. In order to advance this world towards Utopia.

The sound of their funked-up version of "Summertime" moved down the hall and disappeared around the corner. While deeper in the Business and Social Sciences building, Dr. Steve Davis conducted his own ensemble from behind his drums. His eyes were closed in concentration, admiring the progress his ensemble was making through a rendition of "Misty." Two days before, these players had never met. But under Davis's instruction they could navigate through treacherous double-time solo sections and safely make land back at the original beat. Displaying teamwork that would make any football team flush with envy.

Scott Flanigan and Brian Byrne—SJP's first ever composer-in-residence -stepped in for Dr. Davis as his skills were required elsewhere. The pair of masters took the ensemble through the subtleties of the art -instructing the keyboardist to leave more space, explaining the difference between double-time and double-feel to the bassist. Where Wilde's directions to his younger ensemble were more general, Flanigan and Byrne delved into the grit of jazz. For just as a brushstroke can change the meaning of a painting, the fine details of a sound shape its meaning. And ensure that it is transmitted eloquently and efficiently.

Tags

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 "Liberty Ellman Trio at Crescent Arts Centre" Live Reviews Liberty Ellman Trio at Crescent Arts Centre
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read "Jim Ridl: Project 142 at the DiMenna Center" Live Reviews Jim Ridl: Project 142 at the DiMenna Center
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: October 25, 2017
Read "Los Angeles Guitar Quartet's European Debut of Pat Metheny Commission Highlights Uppsala International Guitar Festival" Live Reviews Los Angeles Guitar Quartet's European Debut of Pat...
by John Ephland
Published: November 1, 2017
Read "Chick Corea/Steve Gadd Band At Blues Alley" Live Reviews Chick Corea/Steve Gadd Band At Blues Alley
by David Hadley Ray
Published: February 14, 2018
Read "Gary Peacock Trio at the Jazz Standard" Live Reviews Gary Peacock Trio at the Jazz Standard
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 14, 2017
Read ""A Love Supreme" with Ravi Coltrane" Live Reviews "A Love Supreme" with Ravi Coltrane
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: October 6, 2017