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Some Loose Assemblies 3 at Hundred Years Gallery

John Eyles BY

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Douglas Benford, Steve Beresford, Peter Nagel, Emily Suzanne Shapiro, Megan Steinberg
Hundred Years Gallery
Some Loose Assemblies III
London, England
September 8, 2021

As with Some Loose Assemblies II, the aim of this third and final concert of the series was to produce real-time cross-fertilisation between different art forms. The curator of the previous evenings, interdisciplinary artist Claire Zakiewicz, was joined as curator and performer by renowned Canadian bass clarinetist and clarinetist Emily Suzanne Shapiro. Multi-instrumentalist Douglas Benford and artist Gerald Curtis both returned, having featured at Some Loose Assemblies II. (Unfortunately, another planned returnee, Keisuke Matsui, was absent due to ill health). They were joined by musical polymath Steve Beresford, composer & cellist Peter Nagel, London-based turntablist Megan Steinberg, French artist & performer Aurelie Freoua, and Geneva-born dance artist, Jessica Haener, a line-up which looked certain to generate cross-fertilisation.

As at Some Loose Assemblies II, the evening consisted of two ninety-minute performances, each of three parts. In the first of those parts, music was played by Beresford on piano with occasional forays into electronic sounds, Benfold on various instruments, and Nagel on cello, the three complementing each other well. On the floor, Zakiewicz, Curtis and Freoua were all gathered around a drawing to which they all contributed simultaneously. The joker in the pack was Haener who did not contribute to the drawing but interweaved herself with the three artists, at times physically moving them around as if they were her puppets, which gave the entire performance a knockabout humour to which the musicians contributed, and the audience greatly appreciated.

The second part of the performance featured Shapiro playing solo bass clarinet with Steinberg adding turntable sounds. Freoua painted onto a large transparent sheet on an easel, which meant that she, the audience and other performers could easily see her painting and react to it. Again, dancer Haener seemed to have freedom to go and do as she pleased, freedom which she exploited to the full, at times helping Shapiro with the fingering of her instrument. Occasionally, a poet friend of Freoua's, Mervin Scott, read some of his poetry from the audience, inspired by the theme of Freedom. With so much going on—clarinet, turntable, painting, dance, recitation—the audience's and performers' attention was continually attracted to something new, making for a stimulating but kaleidoscopic experience.

The third part brought together the two curators, Zakiewicz and Shapiro, the latter on clarinet, joined by Steinberg on turntable, Benfold on assorted instruments and Nagel on cello. In contrast to her previous painting which took place flat on the floor, Zakiewicz' canvas was attached to a wall facing the audience , thus giving them a clear view of her developing work as well as hearing the musicians' reactions to it. As with so much of the performance, this collaboration made clear the possibilities for creative cross-fertilisations between artforms. Even though Some Loose Assemblies III was the last of this series, it clearly demonstrated that there is great scope for more such events. Soon, we must hope...

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