September 2005

The 12th Annual Guelph Jazz Festival and Colloquium
| Douglas Ewart, Wadada Leo Smith, Jeff Parker & Hamid Drake |

& | The Art Ensemble of Chicago |

September 10, 2005River Run CentreGuelph, Ontario
The Past, The Present and The Future
by David Fujino
A swift upward run opened up the concert, which Douglas Ewart (flute) and Wadada Leo Smith (trumpet) gradually developed into an extended conversation centered around pitch variation, long tones, and intensely quiet eyes-shut group dynamics. Hamid Drake (drums/percussion) and Jeff Parker (electric guitar) played more like horns, bending tones and textures into a somewhat static slow motion sound space. The falling sigh of rainsticks and Ewart's soft-boom bassoon and didgeridoo then became prelude to Ewart's serio-comic recital about 'George Bush who's an impostor, not a real bush' — a welcome political statement about the impact of President George Bush's policies on our global environment, both physical/economic and mental/spiritual. The group's soft dynamic was unhurried and very 'inner' so at times it felt like we were listening in rather than feeling pulled in to the music. We also remind ourselves that these are master musicians; and this a specific performance on September 10th, 2005, never to be repeated again, not in the same way; and we realize that because of this very fleeting quality, we cherish this music and its musicians.
Wadada Leo Smith
Excitement remained high as the celebrated Art Ensemble of Chicago walked on stage and faced stage left. One note from Roscoe Mitchell did it. We became total audience and the Art Ensemble unraveled their unique spectacle of music and multi-instrumental musicianship, theatre, and sound toys in celebration of Great Black Music from the past to the present and the future. There are hints of arch minstrelsy, as in the painted faces of Joseph Jarman and drummer Famadou Don Moye and the African clothes of Moye and Jarman, as in Jarman rocking to-and-fro on his back, playing a heated alto solo; there's the simple theatricality of Jarman and Mitchell striking singing bowls with blunt wooden dowels and, of course, there's the stunning musicianship of Roscoe Mitchell as he uncoils a smooth torrent-like flow on alto; there's the fleet blats and vocalizing of Corey Wilkes' clever trumpet as under-churning bassist Jaribu Shahid, and solid groove meister and tasty drummer-percussionist Famoudou Don Moye, lead us through the Art Ensemble's evolving story for this Saturday night. The near-capacity crowd was high on the music — and they brought the Art Ensemble back for a brief encore — during this very special music festival devoted to creative improvised music, at the River Run Theatre, right in Guelph, Ontario.

Art Ensemble of Chicago
• • •
We 're so glad
we attended the
12th Annual
Guelph Jazz Festival
and can only offer warm thanks
to the wonderful musicians
and the volunteers
and the Artistic Director,
Ajay Heble, for his vision
and persistent hard work.
Long may the music and the
Guelph Jazz Festival flourish.
• • •
> Douglas Ewart
> Wadada Leo Smith
We welcome your comments and feedback
• • • • • •
David Fujino
• •
The Live Music Report

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