Intakt Fest Goes International At The Vortex

 Takase

Given the fact that Swiss record company Intakt has been one of the most adventurous outlets for improvised music for over three decades it makes perfect sense for a festival in its honour to run for no fewer than 12 nights. The scale of the label's achievement is reflected by the duration as well as the diversity of the programme, as stellar double-bills bring together artists often drawn from different generations as well as different countries. Intakt has always sought the cutting edge of players beyond borders, a case in point being the magical Swiss-South African axis of Irene Schweizer and Louis Moholo-Moholo.

In the initial days of the residency there was a 'first wave' of heavy artillery, such as the aforementioned as well other iconic veterans Alexander Von Schlippenbach, Evan Parker, Howard Riley and Barry Guy, not to mention dynamic younger players such as Lucas Niggli. But one of the most pleasing aspects of the programme was the fact that many artists appeared in various permutations, the effect of which was to create a kind of workshop-cum-open house ambiance. 

Feldman

Given the abundance of duos and trios the change of partners served as an exciting catalyst, none more so than in the case of the remarkable Berlin-based Japanese pianist and composer Aki Takase. As she takes to the stage with tenor-soprano saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, another sound traveller whose musical itinerary has taken her from Germany to New York via London, Takase seems a touch on the nervous side, possibly because she is not confident about addressing the audience in English, which might be her third language. However, there are no communication problems whatsoever once the two of them start to play and Laubrock's potent tenor lands to good effect on the rhythmically choppy, at times turbulent waters of Takase's piano, which impressively flows into richly melodic statements that are steeped in the kind of brash lyricism that binds Ellington to Monk and Taylor. In fact, as she shows on the rest of the set, Takase is fully bound to this modernist root as well as its avant-garde openings into more fluid metres and harsher resonances. Her meeting with German bass clarinetist-clarinetist Rudi Mahall the following night provides a point of both contrast and continuity. They equally touch on a strain of mischievous, jaunty romanticism that is nonetheless sharpened with an explosive quality that invites us to imagine not just Dolphy playing Waller's 'Jitterbug Waltz', but the two of them doing so with the express intent of blurring the line between seduction and confrontation, both emotionally and sonically. Mahall's tone is so startlingly loud and his projection so overarching that even to a patron at the back of the room he appears to be blowing right in your ear. Takase's brilliantly gymnastic runs from the mid to high register, where locked hands give added weight to constantly skipping, swirling motifs, are a perfect foil for Mahall's mosaic of multi-phonics which peaks with a series of ascending, impish sounds that imply an electric mouth organ or melodica. Such tonal ingenuity also marks a very strong performance from another duo a few days later: French pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and American violinist Mark Feldman. Both have an iron-grip on classical technique, particularly Feldman's crystalline articulation of presto phrases, but their harmonic imagination, improvisatory flourish and subversive approaches to their instruments do not go unnoticed, particularly Courvoiser's live looping by way of strategically placed and cleverly manipulated objects on the piano strings. The result is a kind of rhapsody in skews rather than blues.

INTAKT-FAVRE-TWO

Also providing adept at taking a road less traveled to originality is Pierre Favre. In many ways the veteran Swiss percussionist is another great emblem of Intakt as a label whose vitality is well rooted in history. The sprightly octogenarian has been active for seven decades and contributed one of the most original works to the ECM catalogue, 1984's Singing Drums, alongside Paul Motian, Nana Vasconceles and Freddy Studer. Favre's new 4 Drums project also has a quartet of players – Chris Jaeger, Valeria Zangger and Markus Lauterburg – stationed at four kits, with Favre acting as a centrifugal force. There is a lot of unison playing to create dense, low burrs that have the quality of African log drums, a sensation which is heightened by the extended breakdowns in which no cymbals are used at all. Toms and wood blocks feature prominently, but as his accompanists drop out to leave him to play unaccompanied it becomes clear that Favre really upholds the key principle of pioneering jazz drummers in the way he has entirely personalized his set-up. The gong may be a sly nod to Sonny Greer, but the sundry items of percussion, lengths of tubing and sticks of varying size and shape that decisively alter pitch on the drums is really quite mesmerising. As befits a man who played with Philly Joe Jones, Bud Powell and Louis Armstrong Favre carries an important heritage on his shoulders as well as in his hands, a reminder that what might be called avant-garde jazz has roots running all the way back to New Orleans and West Africa. The set ends with a djembe drum circle and for just a moment Dalston becomes a little Dakar.

– Kevin Le Gendre
– Photos by Dawid Laskowski

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

Sons of Kemet, Ashley Henry and Yussef Dayes groove at the Great Escape

Sons of Kemet, Ashley Henry and Yussef D…

Since its beginnings in 2006, Brighton's festival of new music...

Read More.....
Rainforest Reveries: Crawford and Simcock In Arboreal Praise For Powys As Birdsongs Take Flight At Hampstead Arts Fest

Rainforest Reveries: Crawford and Simcoc…

Released last month on Basho Records, Birdsong/Cân yr Adar fuses...

Read More.....
Claire Martin, The Printmakers and Jamie Cullum line-up for 606 Club 30 years at Lots Road Festival

Claire Martin, The Printmakers and Jamie…

Chelsea's salubrious jazz den, the 606 Club, is to mark...

Read More.....
Collective X line-up for Love & Protest at Stratford Circus

Collective X line-up for Love & Prot…

Genre-defying London-based group Collective X, led by singer Alya Al...

Read More.....
Love Supreme summit at London's Roundhouse

Love Supreme summit at London's Roundhou…

A blazing afternoon sun, beer-drinking crowds, and smooth electronic beats...

Read More.....
The Lage Lund Trio, Julia Hülsmann and Christopher Dell inspire at Jazzfest Bonn

The Lage Lund Trio, Julia Hülsmann and C…

During its unlikely spell as the post-war capital of West...

Read More.....
Stanley Clarke, Dave Douglas and Avishai Cohen heat up EFG London Jazz Festival

Stanley Clarke, Dave Douglas and Avishai…

The line-up for this year's EFG London Jazz Festival, which...

Read More.....
Breakin' Convention raise roof with jazz-indebted dance riot at Sadler's Wells

Breakin' Convention raise roof with jazz…

  Founded in 2004 by 'choreopoet' Jonzi D and still curated...

Read More.....
Bärtsch's Mobile Go Minimal Amid Homegrown Diamonds At Estonian Summit

Bärtsch's Mobile Go Minimal Amid Homegro…

  Every music festival has its logistical problems – from gremlins...

Read More.....
Courtney, Kamasi, Frisell and Sheppard thrill the flock as VEIN hits rich seam at Cheltenham

Courtney, Kamasi, Frisell and Sheppard t…

It's a small town, Cheltenham, and the jazz festival is...

Read More.....
WorldService Project's propulsive politics mix punk and Python for satirical japes at Jazz In The Round

WorldService Project's propulsive politi…

"Five disillusioned anti-Brexit punk soldiers...", is how Dave Morecroft, commander-in-chief...

Read More.....
EST Symphony and Akinmusire energise and engage at Espoo's April Jazz

EST Symphony and Akinmusire energise and…

It's 10 years since Esbjörn Svensson's death on 14 June...

Read More.....
Ray Blue Rings True With Pan-Atlantic Quartet At Pizza

Ray Blue Rings True With Pan-Atlantic Qu…

  What better way to celebrate International Jazz Day than with...

Read More.....
Tom Ibarra, Stoney Lane Records store and Family shows complete Cheltenham Jazz Fest line-up

Tom Ibarra, Stoney Lane Records store an…

The doors are almost open for this year's edition of...

Read More.....
Esperanza and Nubya energises while Dame Cleo mesmerises at Jazz FM Awards

Esperanza and Nubya energises while Dame…

  Last year's Jazz FM awards was a memorable occasion, with...

Read More.....
Pat Metheny, Ezra Collective, Esperanza and Nubya Garcia among winners at fifth Jazz FM Awards

Pat Metheny, Ezra Collective, Esperanza …

The winners of this year's Jazz FM Awards were announced...

Read More.....
OFFBEAT Jazz and Cinema Fest goes French

OFFBEAT Jazz and Cinema Fest goes French

A new weekend-long jazz on film event, the OFFBEAT Jazz...

Read More.....
Avishai Cohen Quartet deliver testaments to truth and beauty at Ronnie's

Avishai Cohen Quartet deliver testaments…

The first of two sold-out gigs by the Avishai Cohen...

Read More.....
Black Spirituals Let Axe Fall For Swansong

Black Spirituals Let Axe Fall For Swanso…

Admirers of the scorched earth strategies of Last Exit, Fushitsusha...

Read More.....
WorldService Project power-up with album and tour dates

WorldService Project power-up with album…

Thespian punk-jazz troupe WorldService Project once more don the guise...

Read More.....
Brit-jazz stars, Metropole Orkest, Puppy, Porter, Metheny and more for North Sea Jazz Fest

Brit-jazz stars, Metropole Orkest, Puppy…

This year's North Sea Jazz Festival, the world's largest indoor...

Read More.....
Pat Metheny to be honoured with PRS for Music Gold Award and Esperanza Spalding to appear at Jazz FM Awards

Pat Metheny to be honoured with PRS for …

Revered US guitarist Pat Metheny (pictured) has been confirmed as...

Read More.....
Schneider Supreme Among Savannah Fest's Legacy-Leaning Showcases

Schneider Supreme Among Savannah Fest's …

The middle period of the Savannah Music Festival featured most of...

Read More.....
Dr Lonnie Remedies Ronnie's With Waves Of His Magic Wand

Dr Lonnie Remedies Ronnie's With Waves O…

Improvising musicians have been at the forefront of technology for...

Read More.....
Lucia Cadotsch and Kyle Eastwood among the corking capers at Cully Jazz

Lucia Cadotsch and Kyle Eastwood among t…

  "There will never be peace until God is seated at...

Read More.....
Shake Stew release video ahead of new album Rise And Rise Again featuring Shabaka Hutchings

Shake Stew release video ahead of new al…

Seven-piece Austrian newcomers Shake Stew are set to release their...

Read More.....
Rising star trumpeter Keyon Harrold powerful and political at The Jazz Café

Rising star trumpeter Keyon Harrold powe…

It seems like every time I pick up a great...

Read More.....
Jean Toussaint gets arty with Blakey

Jean Toussaint gets arty with Blakey

Renowned expat US saxophonist Jean Toussaint makes an emphatic return...

Read More.....
Beast Is Back: Return Of The Sloth Racket

Beast Is Back: Return Of The Sloth Racke…

  UK improvising quintet Sloth Racket – led by baritone saxophonist...

Read More.....
Dame Cleo Laine and George Benson to receive special honours at Jazz FM Awards

Dame Cleo Laine and George Benson to rec…

With this year's edition of the Jazz FM Awards set...

Read More.....
Kamasi Washington gets epic again with Heaven & Earth double album and world tour

Kamasi Washington gets epic again with H…

Los Angeles sax star Kamasi Washington is set to return...

Read More.....
Nubya Garcia, Ivo Neame Quartet and Ariwo head to Jazz Stroud Festival

Nubya Garcia, Ivo Neame Quartet and Ariw…

The third edition of the Jazz Stroud Festival takes place...

Read More.....
Cecil Taylor 1929 - 2018

Cecil Taylor 1929 - 2018

With the passing of Cecil Taylor it could be argued...

Read More.....
Pharoah Sanders, Chris Dave’s Drumhedz and Lalah Hathaway added to Love Supreme

Pharoah Sanders, Chris Dave’s Drumhedz a…

The heavyweight jazz quotient at this year's Love Supreme Jazz...

Read More.....
Drummer Andrew Bain takes Embodied Hope on tour

Drummer Andrew Bain takes Embodied Hope …

Emerging Scottish drum talent Andrew Bain hits the road with...

Read More.....
Timeless New York Tribute As All-Star Line-Up Gathers In Celebration Of John Abercrombie

Timeless New York Tribute As All-Star Li…

  ECM Records chose experimental arts venue Roulette, in Brooklyn, to host...

Read More.....


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

Sons of Kemet, Ashley Henry and Yussef Dayes groove at the Great Escape https://t.co/bg4cVBukWD https://t.co/BmmcIjdx6T
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
John Russell and Thurston Moore Duo play a special fundraiser for The Vortex on Sunday 10 June… https://t.co/GJI2RjV0HM
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

Sign up to the Jazzwise monthly E-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