I’m so stoked to be in Strasbourg, France for the 17th World Saxophone Congress “SaxOpen”!!!
Day 1 got off to a bit of a late start for me because I took an inadvertently extended nap after breakfast. oops!
I managed to get to the main venue in time for a 4:00pm show by jazz composer/saxophonist Eric Seva (from France) with two of his groups. The first half-hour featured an ensemble of five saxes and acoustic bass; the second a quartet of bari or soprano sax, trombone, bass and drums. Seva played sopranino on one piece – awesome! It was the first time I heard it played in a solo/jazz context. It was all a stellar blend of various jazz and classical styles. I also appreciated the extended compositional forms and varying ensemble textures.
At 5:00pm I checked out sax and electronics duo (from the USA) in a short concert (30min) featuring Nick Zoulek on alto sax (excellent tone and circular breathing!) and Josh Simmons on laptop. Lots of cool repeated licks and grooves with processed sounds and layered atmospheric stuff.
At 6:00pm I checked out some more fantastic jazz by the Sylvain Beuf Trio (also from France). What an amazing tone and fluidity on both the tenor and soprano saxes! Great compositions, too, including some from the bass player Diego Imbert. Franck Agulhorn played wonderfully on the drums.
The opening evening concert at 8:30pm featured the Strasbourg Philharmonic with a whole host of international soloists premiering five pieces for saxophone and orchestra. I was just blown away by it all. I can’t wait to hear these pieces again and share some links on Aural Fibre.
At one point in the concert I thought that it would hardly be worth it to come almost halfway around the world for one day of music – albeit it’s pretty cool seeing Strasbourg as a part of it – but after hearing all this awesome music today I’d question that idea!