This year’s edition of the venerable Total Music Meeting is reviewed.
English bassist John Edward’s instrument is by no means pristine. Scuffs and scratches sully the top of its belly and the veneer is worn down on its left edge like a badge of improvisational fortitude. He stood on the stage in the auditorium of the Berlinische Galerie one night last month with his bass, two separate entities for just a moment, until Edwards went hurtling into a full throttled performance that utilized most every aspect of the instrument.
For the 40th anniversary of the Total Music Meeting festival, a small but diverse sampling of artists gathered in Berlin, November 6th-9th. Pioneers of the European avant garde such as Belgian pianist Fred Van Hove, German trumpet player Manfred Schoof and South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo, who have had a presence at the festival throughout its history, laid down a solid foundation of confident fluency. But the stars of this show were undoubtedly the members of the new generation, who had ventured from New York, Los Angeles, Paris and Melbourne, bringing with them talent, creativity and incredible perseverance.