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Tag: Vancouver Jazz Festival

The piano trio

by on Jul.16, 2010, under Concerts, Events, Media, Music, Photography

The piano trio is where my friend Paul Plimley really lives. Yes, I can interest him in electronics; and he does play guitar, vibes and percussion — but he really lives his most joyous moments with bass and drums.Plimley-Guy-Niggli-Trio

The trio with Barry Guy, Paul Plimley and Lucas Niggli was one of my personal highlights from the 2010 Vancouver International Jazz Festival. They reached the highest levels of improvisation in ensemble performance where they meshed into a texture of beauty and complexity that shone with emotion.

Lucas Niggli is a Swiss drummer who plays with style and delicate strength. He stretches the boundaries of percussion while playing in the pocket for the band. This balancing act displays the greatness of a drummer; too much steady time keeping and the innovative spark fades, too much of stretching one’s own personal boundaries and the connection with the ensemble is lost.

The photos show the level of communication and emotion present in the Ironworks as each of these expert musicians wholeheartedly joined their considerable individual talents into a cohesive whole.

Barry Guy (below) is a bass player living in Switzerland, who plays with Lucas often. This evening of music allowed him to display many extended techniques and timbres. He played with intelligence, skill and unrepentant emotion. His composition, Fixed, Fragmented, Fluid; had been played as one of the festival opening works in a larger ensemble that included this trio. That was structured improv, but this was free and he was able to fly with his fingers and bow with authority.

There was a Canadian pianist who completed the trio named Paul Plimley. I must admit to being biased when I write about Paul, but I have seen him play in Vancouver many times, and grace the stage of the Ironworks with other trios. This was one of the best performances I have ever witnessed from the maestro. The combination of Barry Guy and Lucas Niggli challenged, supported, encouraged and battled with Paul in the most delightful way possible. There was always a spirit of fun and several times the joy crackled in the air like electricity.

I was a photographer that evening, soundless and motionless focusing on the light and motion as I was transported by the music.

There are other photos of a larger ensemble concert featuring these three musicians taken by Chris Cameron posted on the Coastal Jazz website here.

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TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival June 25 – July 4

by on Jul.03, 2010, under Concerts, Events

My last shift as Crew Chief for the Ironworks is this Saturday, July 3 — come down and see two great shows: The Brad Turner Quartet at 8pm and The Michael Zilber  Group at 11pm.

This time has been very busy for me and I have not been keeping up with my news posts. After the festival I will post photos, but as always, Chris Cameron documents the festival with precision and grace. His selected photos can be found on the Coastal Jazz website and the most current ones are here. This is the 25th anniversary of the festival and of Chris as the official photographer — his work has preserved “the decisive moment” (Henri Cartier-Bresson) of many festival performances. Cameron’s body of work is an enduring legacy that captures the emotions that resonate long after the vibrations in the air have stilled.

The highlights of the festival for me so far are: Fixed Fragmented Fluid, featuring a large ensemble under the direction of Barry Guy; Paul Plimley with Barry Guy and Lucas Niggli; The Mario Pavone Trio with Tony Malaby and Gerald Cleaver and the Unity Globe Orchestra.

I have heard and been inspired by many of these shows. I loved the energy of Hiromi and Stanley Clarke; John Scofield spoke to my blues heritage with his Piety Band; Mike Stern mellowed out and got ambient;  outstanding moments of great playing at each one of my Ironworks shifts will be discussed in future posts.

Today and Sunday the music is open to the public with free concerts at the Roundhouse Community Centre Complex. I don’t want to miss any more of the music. Later!

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Vancouver Jazz Festival 2009

by on Jul.06, 2009, under Concerts, Events, Media, Photography

The Vancouver Jazz Festival, produced by the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society,  is over for another year, tonight is the volunteer party that is the final event. This year, I was more involved than ever before as I not only volunteered as Crew Chief at the Ironworks, but I volunteered to take photos of my fellow volunteers.  These photos are also hosted on Flikr under username jazzvolunteer and I have my set; Victoria’s Volunteers.

Click on any image to start, click on the << or >> to navigate  and click on the image to end. With this basic viewer it only shows the page you are on, so you have to change to the next page. The more sophisticated plug-ins make viewing all the images possible.  If you need instructions for the plug-ins or to make the gallery work go to the Gallery page.

Victoria’s 2009 Jazz Festival Volunteers

Photography is a social art and in that way, being a photographer at the festival  is very different from being a musician.  If  I walk up to people in the street and start singing, they think I am strange, move away slowly, and would hesitate to get in an elevator with me. I find I have to set up sactioned events to get people to participate musically. But, if I walk up and ask to take their photo, it is a much more socially acceptable artistic connection.  People like to have their pictures taken and they trust me enough to  give me their contact information so I can send them the image. They are friendly and happy with the process. I am really enjoying interacting with people since I started to take photos and I meet a lot more potential friends.

In Vancouver society, there usually  is some distance between the community and the music makers. Music making can be isolating because so much time is spent practicing alone.  In performance, music is a special event that occurs in an area separated from the audience, where the community is expected to be passive observers and listeners. As a musician, you come into a prepared area, present your show, then leave without having any direct personal contact with the receiver of your art. This is not the case in other cultures I have studied, and I was very happy that it was not the case when I attended a workshop on Saturday.

Saturday, I had an encounter with three amazing French musicians cellistDidier Petit and bass clarinetist, Sylvain Kassap with drummer, Edward Perraud. They made my life complete during their workshops by asking me to sing with them.

Vancouver musicians bassist, Clyde Reed and erhu player.  Lan Tung also joined the sonic esploration.  I had such a wonderful time as these musicians, solo and in ensembles, know how to open up and create the space that welcomes music in. My next post will be about this event.

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