Gigs, dance, art

November 21st, 2008: Roy Campbell, Joe McPhee, William Parker & Warren Smith / Hasse Poulsen, Tom Rainey, Guillaume Orti, Stéphane Payen & Henrick Simonsen


Back in August, when I first heard about this place from a coworker’s roommate, I talked with him about Tom Rainey being my favorite drummer, and he said he wished he would come and play there — with Tim Berne — instead of the more expensive tourist traps. Then in October I found a flyer for that place and I immediately notice a tribute to Albert Ayler, and that was enough for me to decide there and then to go. I only read the fine print on my way there, only to learn that Joe McPhee was part of that tribute, and that Tom Rainey was part of the opening set. That made me worry about getting in and wishing I had booked in advance, but I did manage to get in, so all was right. Still, I guess I should pay more attention. Very nice place, by the way, I’ll definitely be checking out their site.

The opening set was a project put together as a celebration of guitar player Hasse Poulsen‘s tenth year in France. Named Progressive Patriots, this project features Guillaume Orti and Stéphane Payen on saxophone, Henrick Simonsen on bass and the great Tom Rainey on drums. I did like it, but thought it was missing some exchanges and interactions, but maybe that was because they may not have had time to develop more interesting group dynamics. There were some very good moments, but I had the feeling the compositions were too constraining. Again, that’s probably because a lot was new material, and this was a brand new project as well. Of course there was a great Tom Rainey solo, starting with the bass drum only then expanding. But somehow something feels off when I focus on a solo or on his playing when there are five of them. Probably my fault, but I still think there was something missing.

The tribute to Albert Ayler was exhilarating right from the start, when Warren Smith went through the audience with a small bell. I felt it was a great tribute because it went through many aspects of Ayler’s music, including some of the mandatory classics, but without too much respect. Just enough, but with a will to make it their own, and of course the ability to do it, no surprise with these veterans. Besides Warren Smith on drums, the quartet featured Roy Campbell on trumpets and flutes, Joe McPhee on saxophone and pocket trumpet, and William Parker on bass. These guys are so good it’s hard to highlight a part of the show — Truth Is Marching In and Our Prayer do stand out, but only because they’re personal favorites. They even went into a Obama shout out that felt all the more appropriate for me because it was the first time I heard that during a gig, and how fitting that these guys would do it, for so many reasons, including personal ones I won’t get into. I had a great time and just feel grateful for this tribute project that gave me this opportunity to hear some of Ayler’s music, and what’s more important to feel a bit of the spirit that I had only experienced through records. That’s no subsitute.


November 23, 2008 - Posted by | Music | , , , , , , , , ,

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