The Eric Vloeimans Trio: Fugimundi Byron Carlyle Theater Miami Beach, FL October 10, 2008
Art with Edge is the title and conceptual framework for the 29th season of Tigertail, a festival of the arts in Miami Beach. With support ranging from the Consulate General of the Netherlands to Barefoot Wine and Bubbly, Grolsch, Prima Pasta and Rain Organics, South Florida had the truly rare opportunity to hear the Eric Vloeimans Trio aka Fugimundi
The Dutch trumpeter and music ambassador performed music similar to what the trio recorded in Summersault (Challenge Records, 2006), although with a different repertoire. Harmen Fraanje played an acoustic upright piano and Anton Goudsmit performed the guitar with Vloeimans providing the compositional bulk, Fraanje writing three of the eleven compositions performed and Goudsmit one. All three musicians came on stage rather unassumingly and played just as unpretentiously, as if performing in a small club or lounge setting, which proved to be both a compliment and a complement to the music performed. Their music is decidedly jazz, albeit fearlessly and unashamedly fed by every conceivable musical stream.
For example, Vloeimans offered "Bonansay," his own interpretation of the Bonanza theme, whereupon he managed to create original music that avoided the all-too-tempting-cliched copy that one faces when interpreting familiar source material such as this. The same inventiveness was apparent in their rich-yet-understated interpretation of Harold Arlen's "Over the Rainbow" which, like "Bonansay," the musicians made their own.
Their mostly mid-tempo interpretations were nourished by a very colorful emotional and ethnic palette. "Corleone" was interpreted as if conceived by Giuseppe Verdi and Mario Puzo together. Nostalgia and grandeur coalesced in a jazz minimalistic context. The "March of the Carpenter Ants" had a visual-like effect as it actually managed to convey an Ellington-Tizol "Caravan"-like sense of linear movement albeit undergirded by musical tongue-in-cheek humor. "Fatima" allowed the players to delve into the current public interest in all things Middle Eastern. Coming from the land of Theo van Gogh and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the piece made me wonder about and wander around the perhaps vain hope that music so expressively beautiful could actually help to heal the wounds inflicted by Islamic bigotry against the highly evolved Dutch tolerance in particular and the Western one in general.
Another composition, inspired by Marc Ribot's work with Los Cubanos Postizos, allowed the trio to show their chops in a jazz-Latin context rather than an outright Latin jazz one. The pianist's simple piano figures hinted at a guajeo throughout, without actually executing it. It was a very suggestive, profound, disciplined, intelligent and inspired choice. As a matter of fact, the same could be said of Fraanje's piano performance, particularly when he had the chance to be featured by himself.
Goudsmit contributed his composition "Ernesto" to showcase his craft, which was enhanced by his unabashed clowning and refreshing sense of humor. He, in addition to his companions, was as lean and tasty as Fugimundi's music was understated-yet-forceful, unpretentious and fun throughout the night. They can do whatever they want on their respective instruments, as evidenced by Vloeiman's ample use of the complete sonic and technical range offered by the trumpet, Fraanje's encyclopedic knowledge of the piano and its possibilities, and Goudsmit's superb team player's approach to one of the most uplifting jazz concerts in recent memory in South Florida.