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Monday, May 16, 2011

Vicenza's JAZZ FESTIVAL 2011: my VERY own highlights

This year Jazz Festival has been strange, indeed... I only attended to three concerts, Markus Stockhausen and a loops-based cool quintet and - on same evening - Miroslav Vitous' (temporary) group; then, in Palladio's Teatro Olimpico, the superb Paolo Fresu with A Filetta vocal group from Corsica, introducing their last ECM's effort and... Wadada Leo Smith (trumpet) with Antonello Salis (piano) and Gunter "Baby" Sommer (drums), and, must honestly say, that... the most humble, for-free, open-air concert has also been THE very best, maybe one of the VERY best concerts I attended in the last two years or so...

I only knew Wadada Leo Smith and his awesome "Yo Miles" double disk with Henry Kaiser et al., re-creating the cool "Bitches Brew" magic...

I also appreciated several times Antonello Salis' INCREDIBLE stage energy with fisarmonica and piano and prepared piano...

... but who REALLY stopped my heart-beat was the drumming, inventiveness and sense of weird rhythm and controlled craziness of Gunter "Baby" Sommer, a German drummer with dozens of superb discs on Berlin's Free Music Production and several other labels...

His playing was AWESOME - imagine an intense 60+ sticks maven in pirate-like white shirt, playing a minimalist drum-set - old style bent wood and skin, NO plastic - using mallets and sticks and... maracas (!!!) which with some cool wild screaming made a piece with sparingly used Ishmael's horn sounds of alien, seldom heard beauty!

Sommer's poly-rhythms were reminding me some (South Africa/UK) Luis Moholo's drumming which SOOO much impressed me some years ago... a circular, always changing flux of percussive sounds, truly moving and hinting to "other" music and worlds.

Yes, Antonello's and Wadada's playing were also top class.... BUT the old German lion, with his bold and braveheart appearance and drumming was... my VERY own highlight!

Other concerts? ... found VERY boring Vitous' "hommage" to Weather Report's music... while I liked Stockhausen's and Fresu's...

... BUT nothing compared with Smith/Salis/Sommer's trio, folks!

I'm digging about this great musician and his several, countless discs.



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