cristi c.

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albumul săptămânii

In albumul săptămânii on 31/08/2009 at 10:21

iren lovasz – belső hang (inner voice) 2007
mai eclectic parcă decât rosebuds in a stoneyard, inner voice explorează universul proteic al genului etnic realizând un colaj inspirat între melodia maghiară, sonorităţile exotice de la antipozi (didgereedoo), din ţara soarelui-răsare (shakuhachi) sau cele mai familiare urechii europene (harpa).
un excelent album world music, necontaminat de kitschul sonorităţilor new-age.


remember croco

In cocoşatul de la notre dame, laconice, silogismele prieteniei on 30/08/2009 at 09:25

Pictorul Antoniu debitează inepţii oricărui cunoscut care are ghinionul să-i iasă în cale.

Eu, aşezat strategic pe partea cu urechea lui surdă, pot să mă dedic liniştit băşcăliei.

Vianu Mureşan, ca un om bun ce este, îi ascultă stoic balivernele.

The Gărâna “G” Spot

In jazz on 27/08/2009 at 15:04

Nothing surpasses the condescending attitude of the jazz audience than maybe the totally unjustified pretentiousness of some of the Romanian musicians. This would be my overall impression of the 13th edition of the Gărâna Jazz Festival. But I’d rather not think about this right now and recollect, and enjoy once more, the sensation I had listening to Terje Rypdal, Nik Bartsch, John Abercrombie, Trigon and Nils Petter Molvaer.

Evening 1 – the long one

The concert (preceded by a delay quite annoying) was opened by Andrzej Jagodzinski Trio, who were knitting decent jazz impressions on Chopin. A commendable idea by itself, but which in execution turned quite redundant after a while: a classical piano intro followed by a swing “development” – in other words, old tricks. They were followed by Jazz de Necaz from Timişoara. Their name (a little rhyme in Romanian, meaning something like “jazz of sorrow”) was the uninspired replica of their insipid performance. But I understand the organizers’ decision to promote local musicians. If this is the price I have to pay to witness live top international jazz acts, then I am more than willing to pay my fee.

Terje Rypdal’s concert was exactly what it was meant to be and twice that much, due to the drummer, Paolo Vinaccia, a mountain of pulsating energy. I was (finally!) silent and listening. It was a lesson in every aspect: a lot of music, few words, and a huge contrast to what had preceded them. Rypdal was embroiding in his characteristic manner (uninhibited and sharp) around the rhythm dictated by the Vinaccia-Hovland duo. Utter satisfaction.

As I thought nothing could possibly get any better, late into the night, Nik Bartsch, Kaspar Rast, Bjorn Meyer, Sha and Andi Pupato (a.k.a Nik Bartsch’s Ronin) walked up on the stage. Compared to the recordings, what I’ve heard was an explosion of sounds perfectly controlled by a strict (the Swiss metronome), austere yet liberating pulsation. I stood silent once more, because what I was hearing was at an intensity no CD could ever reproduce. I knew what to expect aesthetically and musically. The surprise was purely on the sound level. The best concert of the evening will have, by the end, proven itself to be the best of the entire festival.

Day 2 – Thunderstorm and scandal

Saturday evening was opened by Platonic and I feel the urge to just stop right now. I could not understand what they were doing there, at a jazz festival. Their act was a sort of Satriani lights blended with a few TV talk-show based musical tricks. What can I say… it was nice, but utter useless, like the rain that comes after you’ve washed your car and almost just as irritating. But more annoying than any of this was Berti Barbera. Not because of his performance (having to do strictly with the percussion this time, a solution for which I sincerely congratulate him) but when he opened his mouth in between songs. Affected to the bone, I was under the impression that the entire festival was just a mise-en-scène for his ego and for the “preeminent guitarist” Nicu Patoi. Yeah right…

All of this was frustrating enough to ruin the evening for any decent person. Platonic soon became a distant sweet memory once Bega Blues Band came up on the stage; a ballroom band that has the nerve to incorporate the word ‘blues’ into their name. If Platonic were boring but at least professional, Bega Band were unprofessional and down right nauseating. The only exception was a brief saxophone solo, midway through the performance, by Lucian Nagy, that, in my opinion was considerably better than anything he had played the day before alongside Jazz de Necaz. Other than that, the music was old and musty (not by origins, but exclusively by means of interpretation) and was witnessing the same affectation, characteristic by now of the Romanian musician. Everything doubled by a very long playlist. Or maybe it was just the sensation that they were never going to leave the stage. The price of seeing and listening to John Abercrombie was getting higher and higher.

The American guitarist managed within a few seconds to wipe away the musical nightmare that had tormented me before. John Abercrombie was the reason I went there in the first place and I was not at all disappointed: nor by sound, or the scene presence, nor by his professionalism when the crowd started to boo Elena Udrea’s appearance, a moment that John Abercrombie overcame quickly and gracefully as a raised ninth, calming his partners of musical dialogue (Joey Baron on drums and Thomas Morgan on double bass). I honestly confess that I did not boo the cohort that paraded before me. I “merely” cursed through my clenched teeth. And if I were to believe Abercrombie’s words (We will continue playing no matter what the fuck happens), I think that we could have done much more than just booing and cursing.

Back to music, John Abercrombie Trio succeeded, in my opinion, to teach everyone a lesson of good taste and aesthetic refinement. Without resorting to tricks, without being noisy, “lacking” the guitar exhibitionism so appealing to most of the audience (of which I believe would have applauded the trio less had it not been for the “Udrea incident”, by feeling somewhat responsible for the confusion created), John Abercrombie showed us his understanding of the jazz guitar: calm but not dull, reserved but not cold, full of personality, with it’s own interior balance, immediately recognizable,  and gushing musical intelligence. Were it not for the live surprise produced the evening before by Nik Bartsch’s Ronin, Abercrombie Trio would have been my number one. Anyway, as a guitarist it was a lesson that’s going to require a long and enjoyable digestion.

So, neither Bega Band nor Elena Udrea has succeeded to ruin the party. But within 30 seconds, the rain accomplished just that. Pickled from the waist down, we took refuge in the car and off we went convinced that Helge Lien Trio will not be playing. Some “teasers” have said that the band did eventually play that night, a completely acoustic set. Whoever knows more about this is invited to share the experience with us, those who left “cowardly”.

The third evening – consistency and normality

The last day finally stood for what should have been the entire festival. It started relatively on time, with Misi Farkas Trio, and all the names in the program were strictly jazz acts.

Although not astonishing, the trio lead by drummer Misi Farkas managed to convince us that we were attending a jazz festival. With a set dominated by Latino rhythms (thus slightly redundant) the combo, dominated by the rhythmic presence of the leader, prepared us for what was to come, and what turned out to be, maybe, the biggest surprise of the festival, the Moldavians of Trigon. The group, lead by Anatol Ştefăneţ, was able, due to the rhythm section composed of Dorel Burlacu (piano) and Gari Tverdohleb (percussion), to surpass the boundaries of ethno-jazz – the band’s trade-mark – in a way that it sometimes reminded me of Nik Bartsch (by now you must think I have an obsession, which maybe I do). To all these elements was added the polymorphism of Sandu Arcuş, who, in spite of his name (arcuş in Romanian means violin bow), deals mostly with wind instruments (saxophone, flute, caval) and who as a multi-instrumentalist brought a surplus of variation absolutely necessary as Anatol Ştefăneţ with his viola played (to my regret) strictly ethno melismas. Trigon offered us an energetic concert, full of vitality, virtuosity, musicianship and genuine enthusiasm. I will always be happy to see and hear them again, because I am sure I will not be bored, especially if the band’s leader will vocally tickle once more time our listening G spot.

Without a doubt, for many of us there, but also in the organizers’ vision, Nils Petter Molvaer was the main attraction of the festival. Alongside Eivind Aarset and Audun Kleive, the Norwegian trumpet player managed to make us experience live the wide breath of his music and to find our place in the electro-acoustic folds of its clothing. Amazingly human and extremely careful when it comes to the quality of his product, Molvaer looked like a caring father concerned that his daughter is going out Friday night for the first time. Technical equipment can help you out a lot but it can also burry you definitively if you can’t control it to the finest details. If with Abercrombie it was a matter of refinement in simplicity, with Molvaer we can talk about a refinement in intricacy: overlapping layers and textures, barely sketched sound effects that quickly fade away in favor of other elements, equally episodic. The attention for detail had as the final result a multi-stratified architectonics, cold at the base and dominated by hot explosions in the upper floors, from both the trumpet and the drums, followed occasionally by the guitar. Even if his music is best to be listened to in private, far away from the exasperating vociferations of a circumstantial audience, Nils Petter Molvaer was a treat from the first second to the last.

The festival was closed by Ulrich Drechsler Fortune Cookie, a quartet well tuned into funk, with a bass player, Jojo Lackner, which stood out from the very first seconds with his rhythmic presence and sense of groove. Juggling between soul-jazz, funk and hip-hop, the Austrian combo danced the public back to the stage after Nils Petter Molvaer’s performance, an achievement that at least can recommend them as a solid entertaining act.

In conclusion, the structure of the festival, with infusions of Romanian musicians, is viable as a principle, in spite of the failures I have mentioned before. I understand the organizer’s will to promote the local musicians, but I cannot turn a blind eye to the overall impression some of them had left at this edition. All of these are just small negative elements that only enhance the value of the top jazz players who were present at this edition of the festival. Each day had at least one exceptional concert, with Friday and Sunday even two such performances. Concerning the interference of the political, it was obvious that the audience does not tolerate such a thing. I believe there is a limit that, if crossed, the festival becomes mundane and fashionable, which I think no one of those truly interested in music would ever want to happen.

I wish you all the best ‘till the next edition. If I am promised Jim Hall, I will definitively be there.

silogism 2

In laconice, silogismele prieteniei on 24/08/2009 at 07:45

francisc baja mi-a dat mai demult la corectat „pe aripile vîntului” într-o ediţie deja publicată

eu, ca prostul, m-am apucat de treabă, ba chiar am şi găsit cîteva greşeli

mai bine mi-ar fi dat să-i corectez propria carte

Laudă lămâiei

In cotidiene on 14/08/2009 at 07:48

Fruct al dimineţilor eterne, aur citric pe care-l torn în creuzetul ceaiurilor negre, duşman declarat al laptelui malefic ce mi-a bântuit copilăria, bijuterie a tropicelor solare, sublimezi deopotrivă caldul şi recele, domoleşti dulceaţa zahărului şi institui noi sensuri papilelor gustative. Între roadele pomilor eşti cea dintâi. Alchimia ta este una subtilă şi modestă. Te pui în slujba tonului gustos, a ceaiului aromat, a ciorbelor fierbinţi şi mistice. Exorcizezi greţuri de stomac şi teribile mahmureli cu nonşalanţa unui şaman din alte vremuri. Fruct ecumenic, tu nu cunoşti totalitarismul bananier. Corectitudinea ta politică este desăvârşită. Te fereşti cu bună ştiinţă de simfoniile grele ale ananasului. Melodia ta este una simplă şi fără înflorituri. Cu portocala şi grapefruit-ul împarţi moştenirea acidului citric, iar cu kiwi-ul verdele proaspăt al vitaminei C. Eşti hârtia de turnesol a firii umane. Cei care nu te apreciază au sufletul murdar, acrit peste măsură. Cei care te dispreţuiesc se zbat în cea mai cruntă mizerie a spiritului.

Fericiţi cei care îţi savurează secretele căci ei nu vor mai cunoaşte greţurile matinale! (Şi vor putea apoi să-şi bea cafeaua liniştiţi.)

despre un puric

In jurnalul pisicii on 05/08/2009 at 11:17

după atâtea discuţii în ultimele zile despre dan puric m-am ales cu unul în blană

drept urmare mă pregătesc de o deplasare la veterinar pentru o porţie de deparazitare

ah, dacă şi în viaţa culturală a ţării ar fi tot la fel de simplu…

Helge Lien Trio: Calmul soarelui de la miezul nopţii

In cronici imaginare, jazz on 01/08/2009 at 12:18

Cronică imaginară

Tot ceea ce urmează aici este un pur exerciţiu stilistic. Asta pentru cei care au scrupule. Nu am asistat la concertul celor trei susţinut de cei trei anul acesta la Gărâna, după cum s-a putut citi aici: însă ascultându-le ulterior albumul din 2008 Hello Troll mi-aş fi dorit să-i fi ascultat. Cei fără scrupule, ca mine, ştiu foarte bine despre ce este vorba: herghelia snobilor va începe imediat să necheze. Însă caii de rasă nu sunt  de fapt decât nişte bieţi catâri. Şi nimic nu e mai penibil decât “omul de cultură” care se şi crede cu adevărat cult (decât poate afectarea muzicianului român… sau  a scriitorului… nu?…).

Istoria jazzului este jalonată discret şi contrapunctic cu formule  a ceea ce se poate numi “trioul clasic” – pian, contrabas, tobe. Fie că ne gândim la Bill Evans cu Scott LaFaro şi Paul Motian, fie la Jarrett/Peacock/DeJohnette iar mai recent la Esbjorn Svensson Trio, avem în minte o imagine distinctă a unui echilibru aproape ideal între ritm, pulsaţie, armonie şi melodie. La fel stau lucrurile şi cu Helge Lien Trio, un combo norvegian pe care am avut plăcerea să-l audiez pe viu la Festivalul Internaţional de Jazz de la Gărâna 2009.

Helge Lien (pian), Frode Berg (bas) şi Knut Aalefjaer (baterie) au aşteptat cu profesionalism şi încăpăţânare să se oprească furtuna care a împrăştiat majoritatea spectatorilor după sublimul recital al lui John Abercrombie. Ca şi Nik Bartsch’s Ronin în seara anterioară, Helge Lien Trio şi-au început recitalul târziu în noapte. Dar spre deosebire de elveţieni, norvegienii au cântat neamplificat, datorită condiţiilor tehnice. Fapt care însă nu a ştirbit cu nimic actul artistic, ba chiar a adăugat un plus de magie şi intimitate. Mîna de oameni care mai rămăseserăm pe baricade ne simţeam ca nişte aleşi, privilegiaţi de zeii fiordurilor că putem să le ascultăm şoapta.

Helge Lien Trio au toate şansele să ajungă la rândul lor una din formulele clasice în jazz, pentru că muzica lor posedă toate ingredientele necesare: eleganţă, prezenţă ritmică şi o certă viziune estetică, deja cristalizată într-o voce proprie. Ascultând improvizaţiile leaderului îţi este limpede că şi-a însuşit tot ceea ce a însemnat pianul în jazz şi că este la curent cu ceea ce se întâmplă în scena contemporană. Aalefjaer îi răspunde şi îl susţine cu promptitudine, având tot timpul urechea deschisă la sugestiile pianistului sau basistului – semnul unui baterist deopotrivă talentat şi inteligent. Frode Berg susţine întregul eşafodaj cu tenacitate, fără să cadă în capcana facilului, iar când ia arcuşul în mână deschide noi orizonturi armonice. Muzica este deopotrivă antrenantă şi meditativă (aşa cum deja se pare că le stă bine nordicilor în jazz). Temele se mişcă liber între melodicitate şi disonanţă atent aleasă, iar improvizaţia decurge absolut natural.

La Gărâna 2009, Helge Lien Trio au reuşit să demonstreze că amplificarea nu e totul, că sunetul are propria lui forţă, independent de mijloacele tehnice, că muzica este în primul rând instanţă sonoră naturală. Dacă Nik Bartsch’s Ronin au tradus la nivel sonor spiritul cu care scoate samuraiul sabia din teacă, Helge Lien Trio au exemplificat pe viu calmul soarelui de la miezul nopţii.