Friday, October 11, 2013

Nu Ensemble at 8th Krakow Jazz Autumn - day II (09.10)

The second chapter of the five-days marathon with Nu Ensemble showed yet another faces (masks?) of modern improvisatoin.

The evening begins with the polish representation: Dominik Strycharski and Rafal Mazur duo, both names familiar to the followers of the local and national free improv scene. Characteristic sound of Rafal's acoustic bass guitar fills low registers with a magmatic and dense flow. Dominik Strycharski plays on the stage a variety of wooden flutes and brings forward sound that combines emotional characteristic of human voice, and trance echoes of tribal ethno. The circling lines expose both contrast and consonance of the two instruments, with the extremes being the most effective – with high register whistles, piccolo flute and eerie suspended sounds of the bowed strings on one end and heavy stomps of the bass flute and blurried bass lines on the other. A worthy presentation of how vibrant the polish scene is, though it felt to me that both the audience and the musicians needed a warm – up, the further they went, the better was the chemistry.

Joe McPhee
The second set once again is divided into solo + duo + solo fragments. Joe McPhee begins his
performance with the pocket trumpet in hand, creating an quasi-electronic musical landscape filled with breath, whisper and hushing sounds. Once he switches to tenor sax all his maestry and richness of the experiences of life and art is in full evidence. His playing is profoundly emotional and the feeling is palpable. Within not even half hour Joe Mcphee tells with his own sounds the story of american black music. You'll hear echoes of Mississippi, Harlem, Broadway, New Orlean. You'll hear the longing for freedom hidden in the old negro spirituals songs, soulfull tone, haunting melodies cut by an ayleresque scream, the whole history of jazz sax. A true professor.

Jon Rune Strom and Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten
The second performance in this part of the evening is Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten and Jon Rune Strom duo so it's a double double bass heavyweight match. Those two to do not joke around. They have no mercy for their instruments. The strings are being struck, torn, bent, pulled, plucked, bowed, scratched with gypsy-like passion and gusto. The intensity is overthrilling so they cool down a few times, take a very short breath and began another furious crescendo with the ferocious light-speed high tones bowing being the most impressive one. Downright brutal and damn impressive.

The last one in the set to step on stage is Christer Bothen with the bass clarinet. His musical narration is poetic, subtle, minimalistic and all the musical action would happen somewhere hidden, under, behind, beside the note – within the whisper, the natural rhythm of inhale-exhale – with all the long sustained sounds and circular phrases disapperaing one into other, echoing in space. Music dense and mysterious as misty fog above the water, an hour before the dawn, sounds coming from unknown close or distand sources, some of it merely immagined.

Mats Gustafsson, Augusti Fernandez, Peter Evans
Third set brings on stage the trio EFG – Peter Evans, Augusti Fernandez and Mats Gustafsson. This is music of liberated sounds, freely placed into the space and time, found in the archives of the lost and found sounds. Sounds scary abstract and highly intellectual right? Fortunately Gustafsson's eloquence (and it count for the other two as well) never stops him from acting like a mischievous villain on stage. EFG is hellishly abstract but also bursting with energy, spontanous combusionts and musical chain reactions.
Augusti Fernandez stays throughout under the piano panel, creating a horror soundtrack, Gustafsson sax and the other thing (kind of a slide, metal flute?!) screams, kicks and punch while Peter Evans kinda mimicks Donald Duck with his trumpet. No matter what, the class of the musicians, their understanding of the musical direction, dramaturgy of narration makes so that they not only create the chaos but then thay master it as riders of the Apocalypse. The instruments are not there to play notes, notes are of secondary importance. There are only sounds.

More pictures by Krzysztof Penarski available on the photofreejazzblog

Set I
Dominik Strycharski - wooden flues; Rafal Mazur - acoustic bass guitar

Set II
Joe McPhee - tenor saxophone, pocket trumpet
Jon Rune Strom, Ingebright Haker-Flaten - double bass
Christer Bothen - bass clarinet

Peter Evans - trumpet, pocket trumpet; Augusti Fernandez - piano, objects; Mats Gustafsson - saxophones

Nu Ensemble week at Krakow Autumn Jazz. Alchemia. 09.10.2013

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