Friedlander Frames Family Memories At Katowice's JazzArt

 JazzArt Katowice

If many contemporary jazz festivals opt for maximum numbers, gigs-wise, then this well curated event in Katowice, an elegant city in the Silesian region of Poland, keeps the figures under control. Over its four-day term, there are no more than five concerts every 24 hours, which means that timetable clashes and the general audience fatigue that can afflict bigger events are not to be feared. JazzArt breathes. The use of venues such as bookshops and museums, as well as concert halls, such as the large scale Miasta Ogrodow, adds to the overall negotiability within the excitement generated by a programme of national and international artists.

The performance that sums this up more than any other is Erik Friedlander’s imaginative project Block Ice & Propane. Known for his work with John Zorn and Fred Hersch, and solo albums such as 1998’s Topaz, Friedlander appears solo in a calm yet stimulating context. He tells the story of his family’s road trips across America during his childhood that were captured by a series of captivating black-and-white portraits by his father Lee, a professional photographer who packed wife and children into a camper van for the epic journeys. The result is a charming, often candid evocation of a memorable ritual that is vividly brought to life by the images, and Friedlander’s jaunty storytelling and articulate composing. His melodies move from languorous whole notes to agitated eighth-note flurries that capture the intimacy and tension of life at close quarters on the freeways.

Though contending with recurrent tuning issues Friedlander gives a good narrative arc to the set that concludes with a reprise of Eric Dolphy’s ‘Serene’. On the previous evening he was heard as part of the Franco-American quartet Reverso, an interesting band that largely fulfils its mission statement of blending jazz and classical music. Trombonist Ryan Keberle and pianist Frank Woeste prove to be good soloists in a programme of understated harmonies and hard rhythmic edges that also highlights Friedlander’s comping skills in the company of a small group that often punches above its weight.

Spanish double-bassist Giulia Valle, a mainstay of the Barcelona scene for over two decades, more or less accomplishes the same with a trio comprising younger players, pianist Tom Amat and drummer Adri Claremunt, who also feature in her septet. A writer who is able to combine a populist touch with artistic finesse, Valle has a firm grip on the music of the Americas in the widest sense, from jazz to tango to calypso, and the danceable themes are enhanced by her own potent improvisations and smart exchanges with Amat, who also creates ghostly effects on a keyboard. Sadly, Claremunt’s drumming is crash-bang-loud on occasion, drowning out the finer points of the arrangements, which, in the exposed setting of a trio, is problematic, to say the least.

Austria’s Zsamm, on the other hand, is more than happy to bring the noise. Maija Osojnik’s active volcano of electronics and vocals and Patrick Wurzwallner’s equally seismic drums are a culture shock for seated punters who are nonetheless mostly responsive. Punkish, brutish and banshee-like in resonance they have a touch of The Creatures about them, though there is much more improvisation in their aesthetic. As for Norwegian singer Marja Mortensson she has a bracing, at times tempestuous energy that is deeply rooted in the Sami tradition of ‘joik’, a kind of praise song to a person, place or animal. The singer’s nasal timbre is striking, especially as it cast against the soft folds of Daniel Herskedal’s tuba and bass trumpet. The music often has a quality of poignant lament that finds favour with an audience for whom the language barrier is no obstacle at all. Without an avalanche of gigs for listeners to contend with maybe concentration levels are that much higher.

Kevin Le Gendre 
– Photo by Radosław Kaźmierczak

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Breaking News

Gary Bartz with We Out Here, Rob Luft, E…

The latest names announced for this year’s EFG London Jazz...

Read More.....

Ronnie Scott’s Piano Trio Fest returns w…

This year’s edition of the Ronnie Scott’s International Piano Trio...

Read More.....

Mark Lockheart busts out new jazz-rock Q…

We were getting in at the beginning: the first public...

Read More.....

João Gilberto 10/6/1931 – 6/7/2019

João Gilberto was born in Juazeiro, Bahia, in Brazil in...

Read More.....

Chick Corea, Snarky Puppy, SEED Ensemble…

Love Supreme’s seventh year continues its unique strengths, as an...

Read More.....

Countdown to Love Supreme Jazz Festival …

The Love Supreme Jazz Festival is set to open its...

Read More.....

Braxton Sets New Standards At OTO

Following his glorious residency at London’s Cafe OTO in May...

Read More.....

Shai Maestro, Electric Lady Big Band and…

After its successful inaugural year in 2017, the Jazz Leeds...

Read More.....

Chrissie Hynde goes jazz, Blue Note trib…

Some sizable additions have been added to the EFG London...

Read More.....

Zorn blasts through 50 Bagatelles and Sn…

1959 was a good year for fans of Miles, Trane...

Read More.....

Tony Hall: producer, manager and Jazzwis…

It is with huge sadness that we report the death...

Read More.....

Manhattan Comes To Rottingdean

Unexpected pleasures are the best, even for jazz fans, and...

Read More.....

Saxophonist Alexander Bone wins Kenny Wh…

Twenty-two-year old saxophonist Alexander Bone (above) has been announced as...

Read More.....

LA Fusion stars Spirit Fingers fire-up f…

Virtuosic LA jazz-fusion band Spirit Fingers are set for a...

Read More.....

Call The Cops: Jazzers Run Riot At Bruss…

The annual Brussels Jazz Weekend operates on a gargantuan scale...

Read More.....

Hundred Years Gallery Holds Speaker-Thon

The Hundred Years Gallery, a not-for-profit space showcasing free improvisation...

Read More.....

Babelfish swim to Kings Place for Once U…

Acclaimed jazz-folk group Babelfish are set to launch their new...

Read More.....

Michael Janisch kicks out the jams for n…

Whirlwind Recordings label boss Michael Janisch (above centre) steps back...

Read More.....

Lost Miles Davis Rubberband album snaps …

Rubberband, a previously unissued 1985 album by Miles Davis, is...

Read More.....

Grégoire Tirtiaux and Gratitude Trio lea…

This is a festival where it’s possible to completely miss Kamasi...

Read More.....

Final Bow For The Night Tripper – A Trib…

Refuting the title of his biggest hit, ‘Right Place, Wrong...

Read More.....

Rossano Sportiello rounds out Harriet Co…

For 40 amazing years, the singer Harriet Coleman has presented...

Read More.....

Ronnie Scott’s rolls up to Royal Albert …

Ronnie Scott’s, the iconic London jazz club, will mark its...

Read More.....

Wollny Steals The Night As Moran Breaks …

The first thing to notice were the queues, over 200...

Read More.....

Steam Down, Emma-Jean Thackray and Leafc…

Stroud’s reputation as the alternative hippy hub of the Cotswolds...

Read More.....

Andrew McCormack returns with Graviton: …

Award-winning pianist Andrew McCormack storms back with the second volume...

Read More.....

Jazz Cafe sax summit kicks off second Lo…

Following its successful inaugural run last year, the London Saxophone...

Read More.....

McFerrin Moves Estonian Voices To Jubila…

The second half of Tallinn’s 10-day Jazzkaar festival was particularly...

Read More.....

Herbie Hancock, Terri Lyne Carrington an…

The line-up for this year’s EFG London Jazz Festival is...

Read More.....

Williams And Mancio Find Home With Subli…

  Kate Williams and her distinctive Four Plus Three, that’s her...

Read More.....

McBride, Porter, Reeves and Jazz At Linc…

Although it is a respected cultural event throughout the Caribbean...

Read More.....

Major unreleased Tubby Hayes Fontana alb…

Christmas comes early for fans of the late, great Brit-jazz...

Read More.....

Ripsaw Get Rolling

Baritone saxophonist Cath Roberts and guitarist Anton Hunter take their...

Read More.....

Cello Fellows Honsinger, Dixon & Lon…

The fifth annual Chicago Jazz String Summit took place at...

Read More.....

Bristol Jazz Fest launches Crowdfunder l…

The Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival has launched a...

Read More.....

Marcus Miller, Tim Garland and Leïla Mar…

The full line-up for this year’s Manchester Jazz Festival has...

Read More.....

Making The Cut Mpu 300x500px

Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

@WesTirey especially when it is in your house
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@AbstractTruth I can see that, too
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA