March-19th-2006, 07:44 PM
Suoni Per Il Popolo 2006 - Montreal
I was just on the Casa del Popolo website this afternoon, and here are some of the announced concerts for this June's Suoni Per Il Popolo Festival:
June 6: Sun Ra Arkestra
June 14: Joe McPhee/Dominic Duval
June 15: Trio X (Joe McPhee/Dominic Duval/Jay Rosen)
June 16: Dragons 1976 (Tim Daisy/Aram Shelton/Jason Ajemian)
June 17: Cinc. (Ken Vandermark/Paul Lytton/Phil Wachsmann)
June 18: The Thing (Mats Gustafsson/Ingebrigt Håker-Flaten/Paal Nilssen-Love) with Joe McPhee
June 19: Fire Into Music (William Parker/Hamid Drake/Jemeel Moondoc/Steve Swell)
June 20: Free Music Ensemble (Ken Vandermark/Nate McBride/Paal Nilssen-Love)
June 22: Trio Jean Derome/Normand Guilbault/Pierre Tanguay
It goes without saying I look forward to seeing the Arkestra and The Thing live!
Last edited by Felix; March-19th-2006 at 07:47 PM.
June-15th-2006, 02:03 PM
So far, I saw the Arkestra, and it's certainly unlike anything I have (or will ever) see. The first set was all right, in a very big bandish mode, not unlike Ra's own late-80's output. Seeing fourteen men in bright costumes play a Fletcher Henderson number is a unique experience! The second set was great.
I hadn't really heard what the band sounded like after Ra and Gilmore's deaths, and I was glad they kept the Sun Ra sound pretty much intact, with those crazy fanfares, weird saxophone lines, and a lot of percussion, even on the straighter numbers. Of course, one misses the pianist/keyboardist, but when Marshall Allen played his EWI and the percussionist/singer that sat besides him (I don't know all the names) used a megaphone, you got pretty much the crazy synth sounds that Ra used. I was surprised by the old-fashioned tenor player, until I understood it was Charles Davis! He had a feature on East of the Sun, and played beautifully. Allen is still a vigorous player, and is even surprising for a man his age (how old is he, anyway? It feels like he's been in that band forever!). The audience went pretty crazy, those who weren't sitting were dancing, especially when they launched into "Carefree". I could recognize many of the themes, and also the space chants, of course ("we travel the spaceways/from planet to planet/daaaa da da da da da da daaaa da").
Tonight it's Trio X, and I also have tickets to Dragons 1976, The Thing, Fire Into Music and FME.
Is anyone else coming?
Last edited by Felix; June-15th-2006 at 02:04 PM.
June-21st-2006, 08:33 PM
I've just seen 5 shows in 6 days, which makes this my biggest festival season yet (and it's not over).
Last Thursday (June 15), it was Trio X (Joe McPhee, Dominic Duval, Jay Rosen). The CIMP guys were there, recording the show. I always like to see Joe McPhee, who seems to play only tenor with this trio. I saw Undersound before and could immediately feel the difference. While John Heward (who, of course, was in the crowd) is basically a colorist, Rosen is a drummer in the more traditional sense. Surprisingly, there were a lot of references to standards and jazz compositions (Here's That Rainy Day, Up Jumped Spring). One of the highpoints was a sort of deconstruction of Blue Monk. Unfortunately, Duval's amp gave up mid-way into the tune. The last tune was a superposition of Edwin Starr's War (What is it Good For?) and My Funny Valentine!
Friday (June 16), I saw Dragons 1976. Not many people showed up, unfortunately, but the guys played their asses off anyway. They're a very tight and dynamic trio, that achieves a good balance between composition and improvisation. Aram Shelton is an excellent alto player, with a sound not unlike Mike Osborne's at times. I spoke with him a bit after the show.
I took a break on Saturday. On Sunday (June 18), I finally saw The Thing, with guest of honor Joe McPhee. Energetic is a weak word to describe this experience. Paal Nilssen-Love provided a wall of sound, extracting sounds from every part of his kit, and more, since he kept putting little cymbals and woodblocks on his drums, and using bows of his cymbals. Gustafsson was his ususal explosive self, switching from baritone to his plastic Grafton alto, and even the odd-looking (and sounding!) slide saxophone. From where I was sitting, I couldn't always hear the saxes very well over the drum storm. However, McPhee was always judicious in his interventions, this time on alto, tenor and pocket trumpet. I could recognize an Albert Ayler theme (I couldn't find its name), the White Stripes riff from "Live at Blå" (a sonic highpoint), and a superb interpretation of Mongezi Feza's "You Ain't Gonna Know Me 'Cos You Think You Know Me".
On Monday (June 19), it was Fire Into Music. Any band propelled by Hamid Drake and William Parker is bound to be exciting, but the music had a sort of sameness, and could perhaps be described as somewhat generic free-bop, with long tunes consisting of a succession of solos. However, when it is played by such musicians, there's nothing to do but shut up and listen. Drake was as amazing as always, and Parker provided two great solos, the one from the first set being very dynamic, the one from the second set longer and more reflective. I had never seen Steve Swell nor Jemeel Moondoc before. The trombonist is a solid soloist, with something of Roswell Rudd's dirty style and something of George Lewis' virtuosity. Moondoc is an odd player, but his sound is great. I was a bit tired at the end, and didn't wait for the encore, where they apparently played a short collective improvisation.
Yesterday (June 20), I saw the Free Music Ensemble, which I had already seen earlier this year (last september, I think). As usual, Ken Vandermark seemed pleased to play in Montreal. I can say without hesitation that this band is one of my favorites right now. Their album, "Cuts", is certainly one of the best things I heard in the past year, and the show was in the same vein, marrying composed elements with improvisation of the highest order. Nilssen-Love and McBride can propel Vandermark like no other rhythmic team. Vandermark's tenor and baritone are as invigorating as ever, and his clarinet gets more interesting every time I hear it. This was probably the most satisfying show of this festival, as far as I'm concerned.
That was an exciting week, but I feel a bit tired now. I might go see Jean Derome on Thursday, though.
Last edited by Felix; June-21st-2006 at 08:34 PM.