Sunday, September 18, 2011

Guelph Jazz Festival - Day Four

With the colloquium concluded, it was all music all day and night in Guelph. I rode over to the Guelph Youth Music Center with Jayne Cortez for the duet improv featuring Trevor Watts and Veryan Weston. Cortez had appeared in a program with Watts in England many years ago; this was my first time hearing this pair.

And so began the biggest 24 hours of music in Canada. Guelph traditionally hosts "nuit blanche," a series of performances spread around town that go on all through the night.

Under a tent on Wyndham Street there were free concerts all day -- After Watts and Weston I caught a power Ska band, Sound One from Burlington, Ontario, while having lunch.
I headed back to the River Run Center for the afternoon concerts to hear a trio of Danish saxophonist Lotte Anker with Americans Craig Taborn and Gerald Cleaver. I didn't go simply out of a sense of Danish national pride; this was my first opportunity to see Taborn in person, who I've been listening to on recordings with growing interest.

For short video samples, click here and here.

Anker, Taborn and Cleaver were followed to the stage by Australian minimalists The Necks whose literally mesmerizing music will be heard again live in Los Angeles later in their tour.

Back at the Wyndham Street tent, local soul favorite Shane Phillips was presenting his tribute to the late Gil Scott-Heron. The show started oddly with songs by Marvin Gaye and Bill Withers that Scott-Heron had covered at one time or another, but the band finally got to Gil's own pieces, including The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, which I have never seen anyone else attempt live. Click here for a video of Shane Phillips doing Johannesburg.

Closing out the night at the River Run Center was a double-header starting with the lively young act, The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, featuring the sons of Chicago trumpet great Phil Cohran. The feature, and the high point of the entire week for me, was a set by Henry Threadgill and Zooid. I've been following Threadgill since I first bought an LP of the trio Air he formed with Fred Hopkins and Steve McCall decades ago. Like Miles Davis, Threadgill changes the musical context in which his compositions appear. Zooid gives them a more introspective and intensely searching feel.

No comments: