Started with a double sax quartet bill at 11:15. Two quartets from Montreal: Nelligan and Saxologie. I think the Saxologie quartet was the younger of the two. I particularly enjoyed their rendition of Denis Gougoen’s Quatre Inventions, which I’d like to hear again and perhaps even practice in a quartet setting.
At 12:30pm I attended an electroacoustic recital entitled “The Unvoiced Saxophone” by French player Don-Paul Kahl. Both pieces, Sikuri 1 and Untitled by Juan Arroyo and Daniel Cabanzo respectively featured some pretty neat sounds, acoustic and processed, and lively, polished playing of extended techniques by Kahl.
At 1:00pm there was more French electroacoustic music, but this of a different sort by trio Nox.3. Imagine Thelonious Monk playing the music of Herbie Hancock and David Sanborn on a processed piano with some Ornette Coleman/free jazz flavours added, then you can approximate the music of this exciting young group led my saxophonist Remi Fox.
I attended a recital by Trio Senzoku (from Japan) at 1:30. I enjoyed their soprano-tenor-piano music. The soprano player, in particular, really stood out as musical and virtuosic. They played commissioned pieces by Takehiko Yamada and Lionel Rokita. Their flashy, “salon-esque” encore piece was too muscially ditsy for my taste. Most people seemed to like it, and it was certainly played very well – I could just as soon as done without it.
After a break, I went to “Drax:Saxophone Percussion Duo Recital” presented by two professors from the University of Missouri. I really like this combination of instruments and the players presented two very engaging new pieces: Askell Masson’s Glacier and Jose Martinez’s They Tried to Bury Us; They Didn’t Know we Were Seeds.
Then I went to a cool “Sax and Strings” concert featuring various groups (of international players) but centered around the participation of the Ephemere string quartet. The first portion consisted of some classical pieces which were interesting enough but nothing too outstanding. It was the jazz portion though that started with two compositions by bassist Diego Imbert that was really the highlight of the day for me. The only drawback is that the strings should have been amplified. Once you add a drum kit and several blazing horns, it becomes too much for a string quartet to compete with. However, there was just so much stellar playing/soloing from all the sax players, among whom is my new friend (just kidding) Sylvain Beuf and long-tome associate (again, simple b.s.-ing) Jerry Bergonzi.
For my final session I attended “Music For Third Millenium (sic)” presented by The Sax-Ensemble from Spain. I enjoyed this music, although it was getting to be too taxing for me by that time in the day. I liked the ensemble of up to eight saxophones and two percussionists. Apparently they are “the most prestigious contemporary music group of Spain.” Cool stuff!
I decided to take it easy in the evening, although I seriously considered going to more stuff. It’s a lot to take in, especially when you’re battling jet lag.
It’s amazing how much stuff I’m not able to get to though only because I’m sadly limited to only one place at a time. There are 450 events crammed in to these six days! It’s hard to even know what to attend a lot of the time. Oh well. I’m so grateful to be here. And someday I will be presenting something.