OK: here's my report The Edmonton International Jazz Fest's main event for tonight was Rudresh Mahanthappa's Gamak. That's quite a lot of letters but easy enough to spell. THEY WERE FREAKING AWESOME. We were in the company of some solid Giant Talents, first of all the concepts built from statements on Asian sensibilities in the sound makeup and layers and form were positively riveting (still jazz though !!!).
Intentional tuning of certain modalities on RMG's alto saxophone and guitar (Rez Abbasi) seemed to me to be perfectly handled and were obvious so there was no doubt as to what they were doing. They are four gentlemen of the highest caliber, (Rich Brown bass) such organized intensity with breaks and rests going on while the shots (in 7, I figured after a bit) were perfect and apparently mystifying and what with them ringing out and them all with knowing smiles on their faces, it was a joy and a study in exultation (a word I borrowed [2nd hand] from Norma Winstone last night.
They are all basically on the same level: witty, inspired, and so confident. The drummer, I took note, of course was sooo fabulous. I think he was imposing an 8 meter over a 7 thing.. wow ... it was so wonderfully impressive and entertaining to be in the hands of this genius on drums (Dan Weiss) who with a look of quiet confidence that was totally victorious, did all these complexities yet made it all sound like it was simple and easy.. OK buy these guys, you won't be disappointed. When I walked into the Yardbird, it was $30.00 and that bit my slim wallet a bit but It was so worth it and it just proves to me at least, what a value the EIJF is to our music community and the sensibilities therein.
So this is for me, a wave of ecstatic feeling about the festival. I won't be let down I think, by any of the shows coming up. Speaking of which, I have a EIJF brunch gig with the 'Charlie Austin Trio" at the Petroleum Club (I should worry about $30.00 ? it costs $50.00 but the brunch is good and included ) Kudos to Kent Sangster and staff, and volunteers and all the sponsors who invested in the Festival..It's going to be a great week. I hope to see you on the trail !!
The one thing I wanted to and should have said is to acknowledge the musicians we've been listening to at the yardbird and now the EIJF, All the study, practise, listening, thinking, meditation, and never ending dedication it takes to even be moderately qualified is somehow not always understood by audiences.All I'm saying is that when we see/hear musicians performing and improvising, that a lifetime of sacrifice has gone into the result !!