Saturday, September 09, 2006

Of course I end up billetting with the coolest person in Guelph (sorry, I guess that is not really a controlled experiment)

I feel guilty showing up after midnight, not even having met him yet, wondering if I will wake him up etc. He is on the porch, just barely beating me home from the last show I was at. Doug Minnet is a very cool guy who also is one of the owners of the Bookshelf Cafe.

After a very full day of listening to music, what else is there to do but drink scotch and listen to records till 430am. Seems ridiculous but we had a great time. (and what a stereo!)

Now I am blogging from bed which is not something I get to do back home much (ever?) I must say.

In reverse order, I heard Rob Mazurek's Sao Palo Underground, the Hard Rubber Orchestra and Joelle Leandre with Bill Dixon all after dinner last night. (btw, dinner was a treat as I got together with the amazing singer songwriter Scott Merritt and his wife Sue...sad to announce he is not rushing toward his next Cd release...but keep an eye open for a possible single or two someday for digital downloads!)

The Joelle Leandre/Bill Dixon gig was something very unique. This word is not to be taken lightly in this case. It was in a massisve church and more often than not Bill was playing half notes that would ring forever through the church occasionally leaning into the microphone and using what seemd to be a digital delay, echo type effect.

The only other sound he made in the concert was when he would blow air through the horn (later I picked up on how there were audible pitches to those sounds)

Joelle seemingly didn't have much to work with in this duo situation but I felt she was brilliant. If he was the drone she was the melody; changing constantly with everything from beautiful arco melodies to tuning down her fourth string and attacking the bass percussively. (at times the repetive and curious nature of Bill's playing reminded me of a minimalist type of James Tenney piece like To Weave)

My emotions as a listener ranged from wanting to leave early on to feeling sorry for Joelle to finally falling in love with the sound and getting into the meditative vibe of the whole concert. (early on I was wishing we were listening to someone playing the huge pipe organ that was in front of us but later both of them made huge, beautful sounds that filled the church in a similar way)

I think the thing about this show that I may have loved the most is that I doubt there has never been a concert that sounded much like that before and I wonder if it will ever happen again. Perhaps this was a true example of non-idiomatic improvised music?

Below the church we heard the other two groups. Interesting to have a somewhat typical instrumentation like a big band followed by quite an odd group that had two drummers, keyboard/electronics guy and trumpet.

Where Hard Rubber was beautiful harmonically and subtle, the Sao Palo Underground was loud, rocking and screaming.

The Hard Rubber (or Rub Harder as they jokingly refer to themselves) played many pieces including an older suite by Brad Turner that started off with some beautiful improv with him and Ron Samworth, the Underground kept going all night. (I was curious how the drummers took their cue to pause, move on to new sections etc.)

While everone including the violinst in the big band had their feauture the trumpet and drum band really had one person (Mazurek) playing solos as we know them from a jazz perspective.

I couldn't make it right to the end but I did leave quite happy to have checked out the Underground and wonder what their Cd sounds like.

Now I am heading back out there. Hope you are enjoying this.


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