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...


Suoni Per Il Popolo 2018

Suoni Per Il Popolo 2018
Mike Chamberlain By

Sign in to view read count
Suoni Per Il Popolo
Montreal, Quebec
June 1-19, 2018

The Casa del Popolo and Sala Rossa, the hub of the annual June celebration of avant music known as the Suoni Per Il Popolo, sit across from one another on Saint Laurent Boulevard just below the major intersection of Saint Joseph. Likewise, for its three weeks, the the Suoni is an intersection for many of the most interesting musicians in the world. Musicians come to town, hang out for a few days, meet old friends and new, and of course, play some music.

Typically, the program for each evening consists of a set by each of two ensembles. Musicians and members of the audience mingle before, between, and after each set. Connections are made, friendships are strengthened, drinks and cigarettes are consumed. And everyone talks about what a great city Montreal is. They say this because it's June, not February.

Montreal is two different cities: one in the winter, and one in the summer. Montreal never feels more like the perfect hybrid North American/European city than in the summer—everyone out on the streets, a multicoloured laissez-faire parade that maintains a wacky decorum. The Suoni is part of that, a medium-sized and ambitious festival, run on a human scale, as befits the music, and the city.

This year's lineup of free jazz and improvised music was among the best in the 18 years of the Suoni, a blessing after what seemed like an endless winter.

My trip through the festival began at the Sala Rossa, on June 4, when the trio of Susan Alcorn, Joe McPhee, Ken Vandermark, presented a set of airy, delicate textures in which McPhee and Vandermark, uncharacteristically for him in my experience, employed long vibratoless tones that wound above and within, variously, of Alcorn's shimmering vibrations on her pedal steel guitar. Slow blues and romantic microtonality.

The Wednesday, June 6 program at the Sala featured Chicagoans Dave Rempis and Tim Daisy along with Ghanaian balaphone player SK Kakraba. The opening duo set by Rempis and Daisy was underpinned by the heavy African influence in Daisy's drumming, which focused on the toms. Kakraba followed with a set on balaphone, of a type particular to his own Ghanaian tribe, which has fourteen keys and a type of metal vibrator that gives the instrument a certain twang. Rempis and Daisy then joined Kakraba for 30-45 minutes of soulful grooving. My takeaway from the evening was the inventiveness and subtlety of Daisy's drumming, the incisive lines from Rempis on tenor, and the exuberance of SK Kakraba.

The next evening featured the duo of Kahil El'Zabar and David Murray, who were preceded by Castor et Compagnie, the latest project by Montreal's Joane Hetu, the grand dame of the Ambiances Magnetiques family. The set was something of a stripped-down quintet version of Ensemble Supermusique, with Jean Derome, Pierre Tanguay, and Diane Labrosse, in which Hetu's usual musique actuelle approach to old and new compositions added a dimension of funkiness not normally heard from these musicians, while employing the small instruments and poetic word and sound play that one has come to expect from her.

El'Zabar and Murray's set was an intimate, happy affair, charming and beautiful. The two appeared a bit tired, which probably helped, as they moved slowly and deliberately through the music, which was imbued with a deep blues feeling. Murray even threw in a version of "Summertime," which, in his hands, did not sound hokey at all.

For many years, Casa majordomo Mauro Pezzente had wanted to bring Milford Graves to the Suoni. This year, Pezzente finally got his man, as Graves appeared in duo with longtime festival friend William Parker at the Sala Rossa on Sunday, June 10. As one might imagine, this was no ordinary bass and drum duo, given Graves' idiosyncratic approach to the trap set and his singing, a kind of chanting The duo worked their way through a half-dozen improvisations, Parker switching from bass to gimbri back to bass and finished up by playing taragato, in a charming, amusing, and oh-so-groovy performance. Two old masters, two old friends, showing that they can still teach us a few things.


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Alan Broadbent Trio at the Deer Head Inn Live Reviews
Alan Broadbent Trio at the Deer Head Inn
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: August 15, 2018
Read Flow Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Flow Festival 2018
by Anthony Shaw
Published: August 14, 2018
Read Shipp / Lowe / Baker / Ray at Le Poisson Rouge Live Reviews
Shipp / Lowe / Baker / Ray at Le Poisson Rouge
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 13, 2018
Read 3rd Zbigniew Seifert International Jazz Violin Competition Live Reviews
3rd Zbigniew Seifert International Jazz Violin Competition
by Ian Patterson
Published: August 9, 2018
Read Live From Brussels: Turkish Psychedelic Nite, Charlemagne Palestine & Anna Von Hausswolff Live Reviews
Live From Brussels: Turkish Psychedelic Nite, Charlemagne...
by Martin Longley
Published: August 9, 2018
Read Papanosh in a Finnish Forest Live Reviews
Papanosh in a Finnish Forest
by Anthony Shaw
Published: August 8, 2018
Read "Michelle Lordi at Philadelphia Museum of Art" Live Reviews Michelle Lordi at Philadelphia Museum of Art
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: June 10, 2018
Read "October Revolution in Jazz & Contemporary Music 2017" Live Reviews October Revolution in Jazz & Contemporary Music 2017
by Mark Corroto
Published: October 24, 2017
Read "Black Flower at Moriska Paviliongen" Live Reviews Black Flower at Moriska Paviliongen
by Patrick Burnette
Published: February 24, 2018
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 "The Jane Getter Premonition at Iridium" Live Reviews The Jane Getter Premonition at Iridium
by Roger Weisman
Published: April 24, 2018
Read "Adam Rogers' Dice Trio at Hong Kong Arts Center" Live Reviews Adam Rogers' Dice Trio at Hong Kong Arts Center
by Rob Garratt
Published: May 30, 2018