Vision Festival XI, Angel Orensanz Foundation For The Arts, NYC - Day Four, 16 June 2006

John Sharpe By

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Grimes dedicated the set to a friend Polly Jones, who died recently in California, before plucking a rapid fire torrent, on his green bass Olive Oil, gifted him by William Parker. His labyrinthine lines resolved into repeated melodic kernels, enticing Sundiata to begin his recitation. Sundiata's witty and sometimes apocalyptic poems were delivered in a low key, though theatrical style: "one star turns to another and says, we are here to preserve democracy, not to practice it .

Grimes stream of consciousness timbres rarely settled into any pattern, let alone a groove, and provided an ever-changing soundscape over which Sundiata declaimed. Pauses between poems were filled with bass expositions, including a bowed tour de force which drew shouts of appreciation from the audience. That's not to say that Grimes was unresponsive: a breathless rapid fire delivery from Sundiata drew an up tempo walking from Grimes and when Sundiata paused, so did Grimes. They ended in unison at a quarter after midnight, after a thirty five minute set, to yet another standing ovation.

Exhaustion got the better of me, so I didn't get to the After Fest party held in a nearby club, featuring Dennis Gonzalez Yells At Eels, with various guest musicians. By all accounts it went well with some great jams. I wasn't the only one who didn't make it. Grimes who went along after his Vision set finished was unable to gain entry with his bass because the joint was so full there was literally no room.


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