AMN Reviews: Jazz em Agusto Festival Part 3

Zorn-dedicated festival ends in a shower of joy


Photo credit: Gulbenkian Musica_Petra Cvelbar

LISBON – With a mix of the new and the older, the ten-day Jazz em Agusto festival of avant and improvised music came to a close Sunday night.

It was a well-crafted celebration of the impact and continuing influence of the New-York based composer and multi-instrumentalist, with performances that included Zorn in three of the concerts, the others played by musicians who are part of his growing musical family, who appreciate his music invites improvisational development.

The early show Sunday night featured the pristine music of the Julian Lage and Gyan Riley guitar duo who played pieces they recorded in Midsummer Moons (Tzadik), the beautiful guitar music inspired by Shakespearean lunar imagery. Who would think that Zorn, with his image as an enfant terrible of convention-defying music, would come up with such idyllic music that reflects the order and symmetry of the European Medieval period? But there it was, with the two accomplished and highly motivated players playing in such well-managed tandem, in conversation, and in support of each other’s explorations. The standing-room crowd was enthralled, and apart from one baby’s initial cries, there was a magical quality to the way the music was played, and received. After half a dozen pieces, they switched the more complex harmonies, rhythms, and dynamics of Zorn’s Bagatelles series of 300 short pieces, and their pathways to spontaneous improvisation. In one of them, Lage seemed to impart an almost human quality to his guitar. At times it seemed to be talking to its audience. Having seen this duo playing Bagatelles in Victoriaville, QC. in 2016, I can say they’ve developed a remarkable synergy that makes them sound bigger and broader, with incredibly tight communication.

The icing on this musical cake was the late-night performance from the Masada songbook by the seven-member Secret Chiefs 3. They closed the festival with music from the same iconic series that Zorn on alto sax performed on July 28 with Dave Douglas (trumpet), Joey Baron (drums), and Greg Cohen (bass). This Masada, led by guitarist Trey Spruance, was an ear-opener with its fresh and sometimes explosive approach propelled by its two superb drummers, Kenny Grohowski and the energetic Ches Smith, who added percussive variety on vibraphone and by hand drumming. With Shanir Blumenkrantz on electric bass, the rhythm section provided a powerful dynamic framework to the Sephardic, Middle Eastern, and Klezmer melodies that are inherent to this music. It is a testimony to Zorn’s successful role in giving new life to these traditions. Along with keyboardist Matt Lebofsky, the lead melodist in laying out these lines was Eyvind Kang, playing soulfully on an amplified acoustic violin. It was a joyous and swinging ride, and in a country where the Inquisition took a fearful toll, a historic occasion to witness a capacity crowd wildly cheering Zorn’s creativity.

John Zorn’s 65th Birthday Festival at the Chapel in San Francisco

Source: The Chapel.

John Zorn’s 65th Birthday Celebration: Bagatelles Triple Bill
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

John Zorn’s 65th Birthday Celebration: Masada Books 1, 2, & 3
Doors: 10:00 pm / Show: 10:30 pm

John Zorn’s 65th Birthday Celebration: Improv Benefit for The Stone and Simulacrum
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

John Zorn’s 65th Birthday Celebration: Masada Rock Double Bill w/ Cleric & Secret Chiefs 3
Doors: 10:00 pm / Show: 10:30 pm

John Zorn’s 65th Birthday Celebration: Interpretation of Dreams – new chamber music
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

John Zorn’s 65th Birthday Celebration: Masada and Bagatelles
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Free Jazz Collective Reviews

Source: The Free Jazz Collective.

Nels Cline 4 – Currents, Constellations (Blue Note, 2018) ****½

Marker – Roadwork 1 / Roadwork 2 / Homework 1 (3 CD BOX SET) (Audiographic Records, 2018) *****

A L’arme Festival VI, Day 4. Berlin. 8/4/2018

Tomasz Stańko Tribute, Part II of II

A L’arme Festival VI, Day 3. Berlin. 8/3/2018

Tomasz Stańko Tribute, Part I of II

A L’arme Festival VI, Day 2. Berlin. 8/2/2018

Meet The Experimental Bass Players

A L’arme Festival VI, Day 1. Berlin. 8/1/2018

Cuneiform Records Artists on Tour

Source: Cuneiform Records.

August 23 – Saalfelden Jazz Festival – Saalfelden, Austria

September 6 – Birds Eye Jazz Club – Basel, Switzerland
September 27 – Südpol – Luzern, Switzerland

August 10 – Crowley Theater – 104 South Austin St – Marfa, TX
August 11 – Crowley Theater – 104 South Austin St – Marfa, TX
August 12 – Crowley Theater – 104 South Austin St – Marfa, TX

September 27 – Cafe Campus / Petit Campus – 57, East Prince-Arthur – Montreal, Quebec H2X 1B4 Canada

August 13 – The Iridium – 1650 Broadway – NYC, NY
August 25 – The Falcon – 1348 Route 9W – Marlboro, NY 12542
August 26 – Long’s Park Amphitheater – Route 30 & Harrisburg Pike – Lancaster, PA 17601 – 7:30 pm – free
September 17 – The Iridium – 1650 Broadway – NYC, NY

September 27 – Quasimodo – Berlin, Germany
September 28 – Hanseat Club – Salswedel, Germany
September 29 – Jazzklub – Altenburg, Germany
September 30 – Tonne – Dresden, Germany

September 1-2 – ProgDay – Chapel Hill, NC
September 13 – Le Presbyt’hair – Beauregard, France
September 14 – Rock In Opposition Festival – Le Garric – Cap Decouverte – France
September 15 – Les Pavillons Sauvage – Toulouse, France
September 16 – La Pannonica – Nantes, Frnce (with Bacchantes)
September 18 – L’Intergalactique – Mettray, France
September 20 – Le Cheminée – Albi, France
September 22 – Un Peu de Piment Moyen, France (with Uz Jsme Doma)
September 26 – Yok Yok Fahrgasse – Frankfurt, Germany
September 27 – Le Lac – Bruxelles, Belgium
September 28 – Red House – Dunkirque, France
Sepember 29 – Le Circque – Lille, France (with Nouveaux Climats)

August 11 – Haldern Pop Festival – Rees, Haldern, Germany
August 14 – Winterhurer Musikfestwochen – Winterthur, Switzerland
August 17 – Mullbrau Festival – Luzern, Switzerland
August 25 – Jazzfestival Saalfelden – Saalfeld, Austria
September 26 – Kino Siska – Ljubljana, Slovenia
September 27 – Waves Vienna – Vienna, Austria

September 23 – Monterey Jazz Festival – Monterey, CA
September 28 – Jazz Festival Leibnitz – Leibnitz, Austria

SOFT MACHINE [John Etheridge, Theo Travis, Roy Babbington, John Marshall]
September 6 – Cosmopolite – Oslo, Norway
September 8 – De Boerderij – Zoetemeer, The Netherlands
September 9 – Musikbunker – Aachen, Germany
September 12 – Muhle Hunziken – Rubigen, Switzerland
September 13 – La Casa Di Alex – Milano, Italy
September 14 – Club Il Giardino – Verona, Italy
September 16 – Porgy & Bess – Vienna, Austria
September 17 – Museum – Bratislava, Slovakia
September 18 – Akropolis – Prague, Czech Republic
September 19 – Kulturbanhof – Jena, Germany

SPELLCASTERS [Joel Harrison / Anthony Pirog / Dave Chappell / John Previte / Barry Hart
August 19 – Bertha’s Mussels – Baltimore, MD [3:00 – 6:00 pm!]

THUMBSCREW [Michael Formanek – Tomas Fujiwara – Mary Halvorson]
September 21 – Monterey Jazz Festival – Pacific Jazz Club – Monterey, CA

Coming to Houston

Source: Nameless Sound.

Sunday, August 12
3pm – two solos
– break –
4pm – two solos


Concert takes place in the exhibit, located in the
Audrey Jones Beck Building at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Concert admission is included with museum general admission.

Joris Laarman Lab: Design in the Digital Age
From furniture generated by algorithms to designs brought to life by a robot, the work of experimental Dutch designer Joris Laarman challenges the boundaries of art, science, and technology.

Rachel Hulsey
Rachel Hulsey graduated from University of Houston College of Architecture, and now makes experimental ambient music as part of local trio Field Trip, as well as her own solo noise project Enemy Goddess.

Having entered the realm of expanding soundscapes and electronic textures by accident,
Jade Castillo uses the moniker, MUTRON ANGEL as a navigating force.