Monday, June 30, 2008

Jazzfest 2008 - Days 3 and 4

Day 3
Due to other commitments I could only catch one set of Steamboat Switzerland, a Swiss power trio of Hammond organ, electric bass and drums. I was disappointed that our usual complement of Québécois metalheads and noiseniks were absent from this group's continuous sonic onslaught, a mix of Medeski Martin & Wood, Dub Trio and Naked City. While highly impressive (and spectacularly through-composed in parts), I think this group is best served by a recorded mix so the details all speak clearly.

Day 4
4 pm: Monica Shore Quintet. The festival has launched a showcase series for combos from the four university music programs, and my McGill friends had their turn in the sun, featuring a couple of intriguing originals by guitarist Jordan Peters, a couple of Joni-does-Mingus tunes, and a fifth piece called "Harlem in Havana." Kevin Warren and Nic Bedard have a really strong hookup, allowing Shore, Peters and electric violinist Lisienne Tremblay to float over them in a sweetly textured blend.
6 pm: Roberto Fonseca. Someone who is not afraid of melody and restraint, whose tunes derive their power from their simplicity, and underlining the efficacy of emotion and communication. Wow.
8:30 pm: Continued the Latin party vein with a brief stop at Jose Conde's set, cut short due a torrential downpour. What I did hear was solid pan-Latin funk, greeted by some avid salsa dancers.
9:30 pm: Hank Jones & Charlie Haden. The only show of Jones' Invitation series I could see due to other commitments. I could listen to those two play the heads to tunes all day, never mind their solos. Haden was uniformly brilliant, and Jones, while showing some age, redeemed himself with his incredibly touching readings of ballads, blues, and "Motherless Child." Absolutely stunning.

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