by carl wilson

Guelph Jazzblog 2.i

Natsuki Tamura. (Font color selected by David Heti.)

Pardon the gap between posts - I suppose I started enjoying the festival too much to report on it, and just finally got to a wireless spot. Ive missed a lot of the music as well: Im writing from the lobby at the afternoon concert today (Saturday), where I arrived just a moment too late for the set by Sticks and Stones from Chicago - judging by the crowd response, which was nothing less than ecstatic, it must have been a great set. I saw them take their bow, & Mantana Roberts was done up in some sparkling green face paint, lending an otherworldly mystique to her strong stage presence. Likewise I missed the 8 pm show last night - I heard unenthusiastic reports about the Roscoe Mitchell/Pauline Oliveros set and positive things about the Nicole Mitchell ensemble - I should have gone in but was having too good a time chatting with Toronto trombonist Scott Thompson, Guelph bookstore owner Doug Minette and others. Have I seen any music, you ask? I did attend the midnight show by Rene Lussier and Eugene Chadbourne on guitar and banjo, and that was a wonderful, laidback and fluid set. The two had real musical chemistry - they should record together.

The set by the Satoko Fujii Four, with Fujii on piano and Mark Dresser on bass, Natsuki Tamura trumpet and Jim Black drums, was a mixed success. The general level of musicianship was extraordinary - Dresser is always astounding, Black (whom I don't think I've seen before) was creative and ebullient, and Tamura's voice on horn is distinct and powerful. But Fujii's compositions are kind of lousy, full of new-agey sweep and flourish and contrived melodism - so the improvised solos and such were excellent, but the overall journey was kind of tedious to me. But since the audience was on its feet at the end, calling the band back for an encore, obviously I was in a minority.

I want to address some of what went on yesterday afternoon, as well, but I'll save it for a wrap-up entry tomorrow. Coming up next: The AACM/Art Ensemble show. I'm particularly chuffed to see Wadada Leo Smith, a longtime favourite jazz musician of mine - with a trumpet tone like silken fire - and one who rarely seems to tour, at least in this country. But it will also be interesting to see how the Art Ensemble fares with its new members, Jaribu Shahid and Corey Wilkes, taking on the formidable challenge of filling the spots of the late Lester Bowie and Malachi Favors.

And now my fingers are getting sticky with Bookshelf roasted garlic and caesar salad, so I'll stop for the time being.

Live Notes | Posted by zoilus on Saturday, September 10 at 5:38 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (1)



I kind of agree with your assesment of Fuji's performance, however, I found that her "new-age" sound was a neat mix with the outstanding group improv. Her melodies could've been a little less cheesy, but I found the contrast between improv and melody was effective. I personally went there to see Jim Black, and, to me, it was a bit of a Jim Black show - but thats what I liked! Tamura was the least enjoyable, as I found his use of phrygian/locrian scale work too predictable. I've always been irked when musicians resort to this sound over a pedal point.

I enjoy your site!

Posted by Electronsean on September 18, 2005 4:54 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson