Shabaka Shakes Sons Loose At Saalfelden

 ShabakaHutchins 0033-13

Though Jazzfestival Saalfelden might not nestle between the likes of Montreux or North Sea in terms of high profile, it's now up to its 39th edition, and has a significant reputation for adventurous programming. Its spiritual siblings are fellow uncompromising festivals such as Moers and Vilnius. Saalfelden is set amid the Austrian Alps, in what is effectively a holiday resort. Fortunately, most of this four-day festival was housed in various indoor venues, as the weather conditions involved a heavy three-day downpour, with flooded villages and snowy summer peaks. The misty vistas were almost as evocative as Sunday's eventual sunny revelation.

The free outdoor shows were held under a large street-square marquee, rain waterfalling around its edges, as beer and sausages comforted the crowds. Mokoomba (Zimbabwe) and La Chiva Gantiva (Belgium) were fine choices for the opening night's Afro-psychedelic-latin double-bill. Artistic director Mario Steidl selected a high-powered programme of acts from Austria, the USA, and the rest of Europe, beginning with Finnish guitarist Raoul Björkenheim's smouldering Ecstasy for the Thursday late set in Nexus. This is a small arts theatre alternative to the nearby Main Stage at Congress Saalfelden.

On these latter boards, NYC guitarist Marc Ribot Euro-premiered his Songs Of Resistance repertoire, flanked by Jay Rodriguez (reeds/flute), Nick Dunston (bass) and Nasheet Waits (drums). The leader's crackling, semi-acoustic solos cut through, but an entire set of Ribot protest-vocals was not so enticing, as he's neither a conventionally tuneful singer, or an arresting talk-tone narrator. A particular highlight was the climatic exchange of guitar solos with Rodriguez, escalating via his soprano saxophone intensity.

TomasFujiwara lores 0013

Tomas Fujiwara's Triple Double involved twinned drums, guitars and trumpet/cornet, with Brandon Seabrook (pictured above, extreme fragmentation, unlikely shapes), Ralph Alessi and Gerald Cleaver joining the leader's accustomed team with Mary Halvorson and Taylor Ho Bynum (extroverted dazzle, seated with dancing legs). A Haden and Ornette miasma-feeling sometimes grew.

Communicative Munich-based singer Jelena Kuljic fronted Kuu!, her agile lines weaving between the spiky guitars of Kalle Kalima and Frank Möbus, while drummer Christian Lillinger revealed his more linear groove-keeping side. Another striking guitar act was the Schnellertollermeier trio, making strings and drums sound like a single breathless robo-entity, with suggestions of Dawn Of Midi or The Necks, but arriving from a precision math-rock direction. The Swissmen cut and clipped with a determined momentum.

Elliott Sharp maintained the guitar focus, in duo with Austrian drummer Lukas König, both of them using pedals and electronics to explode their vocabularies. Rapport was attained, with no lack of swift idea-stamping. Sharp's later set with a quartet that included French singer and harpist Hélene Breschand was lacking on the vocal front. The wafty Breschand rarely opted for silence, and Sharp is not the greatest singer, though his bluesey numbers were still the best on offer. If we wanted an Austrian Billy Jenkins, who better than Christian Kühn and his Kuhn Fu combo. Manic in terms of guitaring, puppet-dancing and mention-the-war humour, he roughed up the festival with a bucketload of zany humour, in the guise of avant speed-jazz.

Chicagoan flautist Nicole Mitchell presented Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds, with an unusual palette of shakuhachi, taiko drum, cajon, theremin, cello (Tomeka Reid doubling on banjo) and acid electric guitar. The first section savoured an introverted south-east Asian aura, but the second jarringly shifted into an avant-gospel showcase for frothing singer Avery Young. There appeared to be little connection.

Jaimie Branch (a Chicagoan trumpeter in NYC) led a subdued set from her Fly Or Die, struggling to discover energy during an early-day showing. Lester St Louis chose an unpleasantly buzzing cello sound, impersonating a tuba, while Chad Taylor introduced a sprightly drum-skip, but when sparseness returned, all was strangely lifeless.

Late at night in the Nexus bar, London Afrobeat combo Kokoroko gave a spirited close to the Friday and Saturday, blessed by their three female singers on the frontline, who also injected hardcore jazz horn soloing and riffing into the stream. Or should that be the other way around, horners as vocalists? Our man in Saalfelden, Shabaka Hutchings, fronted the Austro-German party-complexity ensemble Shake Stew, though he became part of the fabric rather than dominating as a big-name guest. Many of his Kemetian toons were negotiated, and this was a superbly suitable combo for interpretation, with bullish electronics, friction baritone and twinned basses, acoustic plus electric. Hutchings was freed up to stretch out loosely in his solos, rather than needing to monitor the rhythmic-thrust side too closely.

Martin Longley
– Photos by Matthias Heschl/Jazzfestival Saalfelden

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

Ezra Collective Get Sweaty And Prophetic For Jazz-Plus Party At Patterns

Ezra Collective Get Sweaty And Prophetic…

  "This is about joy and happiness and celebrating everything that's...

Read More.....
GoGo Penguin: Kings Of The Bill Take Flight At Concorde

GoGo Penguin: Kings Of The Bill Take Fli…

  The Concorde usually hosts mid-ranking rock bands or popular club...

Read More.....
Helena Kay’s KIM Trio launch Moon Palace album with 'L and D' video

Helena Kay’s KIM Trio launch Moon Palace…

Fast emerging saxophonist Helena Kay is set to release her...

Read More.....
Ben LaMar Gay Breaks Back Of Chicagoan Post-Jazz With Melancholic OTO Matinee

Ben LaMar Gay Breaks Back Of Chicagoan P…

A wet afternoon in the 'Big Smoke' is brightened by...

Read More.....
Shepp Sharp, Fiery and Free at Enjoy Fest

Shepp Sharp, Fiery and Free at Enjoy Fes…

The Enjoy Jazz festival is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary...

Read More.....
Baker On A Roll As Her Eden Project Pays Tribute To Ed Blackwell At Brunswick

Baker On A Roll As Her Eden Project Pays…

  Lorraine Baker recorded one of the season's freshest sounding releases...

Read More.....
Freestage Stars Ready To Fire Up EFG London Jazz Festival

Freestage Stars Ready To Fire Up EFG Lon…

With the full programme confirmed for this year's EFG London...

Read More.....
Sons of Kemet: Kinetic and Chaotic at Komedia

Sons of Kemet: Kinetic and Chaotic at Ko…

There is already a sense of excitement in the air...

Read More.....
Henri Texier, Denys Baptiste, Ghost Note and AEC heat up 37th Tampere Jazz Happening

Henri Texier, Denys Baptiste, Ghost Note…

The 37th edition of what is a key date on...

Read More.....
Dave Holland's Aziza Up The Ante At Ronnie's

Dave Holland's Aziza Up The Ante At Ronn…

The old joke that the audience will have a chance...

Read More.....
Art Ensemble and Mary Halvorson among the hair-raising turns at Berlin Fest humdinger

Art Ensemble and Mary Halvorson among th…

The English music critic Richard Williams finished his three-year stint...

Read More.....
A Melting Pot Of Sounds – Pelin Opcin talks about the EFG London Jazz Festival

A Melting Pot Of Sounds – Pelin Opcin ta…

Alyn Shipton spoke to Pelin Opcin, the EFG London Jazz...

Read More.....
Roy Hargrove – 16/10/69 – 2/11/18

Roy Hargrove – 16/10/69 – 2/11/18

Although several of his legendary predecessors met their maker while...

Read More.....
Victor Wooten puts the bass on top at Ronnie Scott’s

Victor Wooten puts the bass on top at Ro…

No one really noticed the quiet, contemplative figure who was...

Read More.....
Love Supreme Jazz Festival launches new monthly music series

Love Supreme Jazz Festival launches new …

With the first names still be announced for the 2019...

Read More.....
Alexander Hawkins heads up Emulsion Fest Part VII

Alexander Hawkins heads up Emulsion Fest…

The seventh installment of the genre-busting Emulsion Festival is set...

Read More.....
Shirley Tetteh, Denys Baptiste and Ian Shaw among Parliamentary Jazz Award winners

Shirley Tetteh, Denys Baptiste and Ian S…

The winners of the 14th annual Parliamentary Jazz Awards took...

Read More.....
Omar Puente and Steam Down Collective for Albany

Omar Puente and Steam Down Collective fo…

South London's longstanding music and arts venue, The Albany, has...

Read More.....
Up From The Vaults: Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet Albums Back on Vinyl

Up From The Vaults: Don Rendell/Ian Carr…

Long regarded as among the most notable and, in recent...

Read More.....
Georgia Mancio's triumphant triple bill at second Pizza Hang

Georgia Mancio's triumphant triple bill …

It's been something of an annus mirabilis for the vocalist...

Read More.....
Makaya McCraven’s Universal Beings, The Necks and Ambrose Akinmusire make moves at Mondriaan Jazz Fest

Makaya McCraven’s Universal Beings, The …

The second edition of the Mondriaan Jazz Festival takes place...

Read More.....
Black Top boogie on down for Sardinian Extravaganza

Black Top boogie on down for Sardinian E…

This exciting initiative taken by London-based vocalist Filomena Campus is...

Read More.....
UK Seers Foresee Future Homegrown Visions At Jazz In The Round's Emergence Fest

UK Seers Foresee Future Homegrown Vision…

Jazz In The Round promoters Chris Phillips and Jez Nelson...

Read More.....
Julian Siegel and Renegade Brass light up Limerick Jazz Festival

Julian Siegel and Renegade Brass light u…

This year's festival was perhaps short on surprises, compared to...

Read More.....
Dayes Of Future Past As Yussef Dazzles At Brighton's Haunt

Dayes Of Future Past As Yussef Dazzles A…

The bouncer outside is busy checking ID and handing out...

Read More.....
Gobbling Gourmet On Finnish Baltic Sea Jazz Cruise

Gobbling Gourmet On Finnish Baltic Sea J…

Most jazz cruises skim through moist Caribbean parts, proffering smooth...

Read More.....
New York group SUM premiere ‘Sinking Sand’ video

New York group SUM premiere ‘Sinking San…

Fast emerging New York group SUM bring together jazz, soul...

Read More.....
Claire Martin and Liane Carroll top JBGB autumn jazz line-up

Claire Martin and Liane Carroll top JBGB…

There's a busy jazz line-up at the Other Palace, PizzaExpress...

Read More.....
Guadeloupean Drummer Dolmen Goes For Gwoka At French Institute

Guadeloupean Drummer Dolmen Goes For Gwo…

The World Is Moving is an apt title for this...

Read More.....
Riot Jazz Brass Band for ISM Trust's The Empowered Musician Conference

Riot Jazz Brass Band for ISM Trust's The…

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) Trust are holding a...

Read More.....
Bishop Bones Up In Glasgow

Bishop Bones Up In Glasgow

Chicagoan trombonist Jeb Bishop (Vandermark 5/Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet/Globe Unity...

Read More.....
Szun Waves share new video for ‘Moon Runes’

Szun Waves share new video for ‘Moon Run…

Jazztronica trio Szun Waves have just released the video for...

Read More.....
Flying Machines Video Exclusive – ‘New Life’

Flying Machines Video Exclusive – ‘New L…

Guitarist Alex Munk returns in emphatic style with his hard-driving...

Read More.....
Elliot Galvin, Cherise Adams-Burnett and Fini Bearman for Elgar Room jazz fest nights

Elliot Galvin, Cherise Adams-Burnett and…

The Royal Albert Hall's venue-within-a-venue, The Elgar Room, has a...

Read More.....
EFG renews title sponsorship, Jazz Voice stars, Rymden and Jamie Baum for EFG London Jazz Fest

EFG renews title sponsorship, Jazz Voice…

The full programme for this year's EFG London Jazz Festival...

Read More.....
Tim Berne/Matt Mitchell Duo and Sheila Maurice-Grey vibe up The Vortex

Tim Berne/Matt Mitchell Duo and Sheila M…

There's a plethora of essential jazz nights lined up at...

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

Ezra Collective Get Sweaty And Prophetic For Jazz-Plus Party At Patterns https://t.co/koxlhUvlmF @joeArmonJones… https://t.co/TOY1h6ztbG
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
GoGo Penguin: Kings Of The Bill Take Flight At Concorde https://t.co/8uSS6JZQD9 @GoGo_Penguin @kerstanmac… https://t.co/W1CerTrwaC
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