Astral Progression Ensemble and Irreversible Entanglements engage at Jazz Jantar

 Irresversible Ent

Jazz Jantar has been running in the northern Polish port of Gdańsk for the last two decades, and is housed in Klub Zak, an arts centre that has roots stretching back 60 years. ‘Jantar’ refers to amber, for which this coast is renowned. The main part of the festival spans 11 days, with two sets each evening. This year, there was a notably strong line in UK and US acts, though with fewer indigenous Polish artists included than in 2017.

Irreversible Entanglements had appeared a week earlier at Jazzfest Berlin, but this Gdańsk set was superior, generating a crackling energy in this more intimate setting. Hardcore free-jazz simultaneity took over the muted trumpet and chattering alto saxophone of Aquiles Navarro and Keir Neuringer, while Camae Ayewa was dancing more than usual, visibly preparing for her first verbal release. As bass and drums coalesced (Luke Stewart/Tcheser Holmes), Neuringer brought out his percussion collection of shakers and bells, while Navarro turned his horn into a low-note echo wind tunnel. When Ayewa began to intone, the bustle turned to sparseness. When a swarming climax arrived, the players were making a formidable free racket, with such peaks frequently cutting to just bass and drums, before a new patch of verbal and instrumental intensity grew anew.

On some nights, the pairing of bands offered similarly inclined artists, but on others, the matching could be completely contrasting. Both strategies were usually successful, for different reasons. Following the Entanglements, trumpeter Josef Leimberg (pictured above) and his Astral Progression Ensemble altered the orientation to Los Angeles spiritual funk-jazz, cutting off the spikes and breathing out the mist. Spacey, with flute and Rhodes, tarry low strings, alto saxophone and bass clarinet solos, a retro cosmic approach was refracted through a modern Californian prism, a very sparse mystical meandering section being surprisingly successful. The reed specialist Tracy Wannomae was a real revelation, contributing multiple monstrous-release solos, pleading up into the rafters, followed by Leimberg himself drawing out emotive smears. The leader rationed his actual trumpet parts, and appeared to be equally interested in percussion embellishments.

M Halvorson

The double-bill of alto saxophonist Chris Pitsiokos and guitarist Mary Halvorson (pictured above) held closer ties, representing the hyperactive, idea-loaded NYC scene. CP Unit boasted a compact assault from alto, guitar, bass and drums, somewhat softened since their Moers Festival performance last May. Pitsiokos is a deep Zorn disciple, but the emphasis has lurched from porcupine riff-twitching to sinuous James Blood Ulmer roaming, the tunes stretched out more, as a stealthier alto ribboning suggested that Pitsiokos is now looking past Zorn to Ornette, or maybe even James Chance and John Lurie. There’s now more space, and more nervy no wave funk. There was also a compulsive alto solo that appeared to recreate North African reed flute multiplicity via a footpedal.

The Mary Halvorson Octet continued to refine their new Away With You material, following a Jazzfest Berlin gig, with the leader immersed in the chiming co-existence of her slide playing with that of Susan Alcorn’s pedal-steel guitar. Tomas Fujiwara gave a stadium-sized drum solo, but ended up slashing cymbals, limiting the hiss with his fingers straight afterwards. Then trombonist Jacob Garchik drastically curtailed his phrases for a stutter attack. A few even newer numbers came at the end, one called ‘Fortune Teller’ (not the 1962 Benny Spellman soul classic, penned by Allen Toussaint), with Alcorn using a wine glass, Halvorson weebling in sympathy, setting up a dampened treble figure that was soon echoed by the horns of Garchik, Jon Irabagon, Ingrid Laubrock and Dave Ballou. Free chatter became a slugging groove, then it was the turn of tenor and trombone, inhabiting a creepily sparse terrain. The encore was another new piece, ‘Rolling Heads’, based around Halvorson’s looping, with this further-along-the-tour set cementing an increased strength, confidence and, therefore, looseness, to the repertoire.

An illustration of Jantar’s various commitments is the presence, two nights later, of the Aaron Diehl Trio, bringing mainline NYC jazz club fare to provide a sharp contrast. Diehl is a slick pianist, but he’s a master of gaining dynamic interest through hopping from smooth flow to open breakdowns, particularly those spotlighting his extroverted drummer Gregory Hutchinson. Diehl made selections from Dick Hyman’s études, dedicated to piano greats from down the decades (Tatum, Brubeck, Evans), as well as interpreting the Philip Glass études that he’s been performing for their composer in recent years. When Hutchinson and bassist Paul Sikivie joined in, the Glass splintered into the jazz universe, expanded and explored. This set was a masterclass in how to keep mainline jazz consistently on the move, arresting our attention with wily moves and individualist solos.

Martin Longley
– Photos by PawełWyszomirski (Astral Progression Ensemble); Jan Rusek (Mary Halvorson)

 

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

Abdullah Ibrahim, Gregory Porter, Yazz A…

The full line-up has been announced for Cheltenham Jazz Festival...

Read More.....

Irreversible Entanglements + Matana Robe…

  Matana Roberts (above) is so relaxed tonight her short opening set...

Read More.....

Jazz FM Awards nominations celebrate gia…

The names for the 2019 Jazz FM Awards were revealed...

Read More.....

Patchwork Jazz Orchestra premiere ‘Badge…

The London-based 17-piece Patchwork Jazz Orchestra are set to release...

Read More.....

NJYO, JCM, friends and family pay tribut…

As Jon Hiseman would say: “If you are going to...

Read More.....

Sons of Kemet, Moses Boyd, Nubya Garcia …

The programme has been announced the inaugural We Out Here...

Read More.....

NCO hit bullseye with CTI at Ronnie Scot…

Tomorrow’s Warriors’ role as a springboard for emerging talent in...

Read More.....

Countdown To Ecstasy: Royal Academy Big …

  There are some people, who I've never understood, who smirk...

Read More.....

Melt Yourself Down, Laura Mvula and Kama…

The second edition of Love Supreme at the Roundhouse takes...

Read More.....

Michel Legrand 24/02/1932 – 26/01/2019

The prolific French film composer and pianist Michel Legrand was...

Read More.....

Hamasyan In Inspired Orchestral Manoeuvr…

The Brussels Jazz Festival is a relative newcomer, but this...

Read More.....

Zara McFarlane and Soweto Kinch turn up …

The night goes on and they keep on coming, a...

Read More.....

Jazz meets theatrical protest with The A…

Few styles of music can claim to have come as...

Read More.....

Snarky Puppy return with new album Immig…

Grammy-winning groove crew Snarky Puppy return with a new studio...

Read More.....

Blue Note spearheads 80th Anniversary Ye…

The iconic Blue Note label will celebrate its milestone 80th...

Read More.....

John Turville dives in Head First – new …

Pianist and composer John Turville returns with a new album...

Read More.....

Uri Caine and Henri Texier dazzle while …

Jazzfestival Münster is celebrating its 40th anniversary, but has only...

Read More.....

Ezra Collective bring the Brit-Jazz Nois…

Much like in other recent editions of New York's Winter...

Read More.....

Yazz Ahmed and Jasper Høiby line-up for …

For some there is a Holy Grail in jazz: to...

Read More.....

Matthew Herbert marks Brexit with Big Ba…

Composer, conductor and sampling-supremo Matthew Herbert is set to release...

Read More.....

Joseph Jarman 14/09/37 – 9/01/19

  The recitation of 'Non-Cognitive Aspects Of The City' by Dante...

Read More.....

Wandering Monster step up with 'Samsara…

Bass-led progressive jazz group Wandering Monster are set to release...

Read More.....

Cécile McLorin Salvant, Oded Tzur Quarte…

  The unfeasibly warm November weather was matched by the heat...

Read More.....

Edinburgh embraces the Thrill of Belgian…

Belgium may be better known for its beer than its...

Read More.....

Mitchener And Yarde Break Blues Boundari…

The blues is a lived and living truth, as much...

Read More.....

Ra's Arkestra Announces Annual Lewes Aff…

The Sun Ra Arkestra – led by that indomitable intergalactic...

Read More.....

Steve Williamson, Silje Nergaard and Tin…

Southampton’s Turner Sims music venue has announced an impressive line-up...

Read More.....

19-year-old vibraphonist Sasha Berliner …

19-year-old vibraphonist Sasha Berliner wins LetterOne Rising Stars Award California-based...

Read More.....

Nordic Wonders: Rune Grammofon Bring The…

Determined individuals who ignore categories define the Norwegian scene, in...

Read More.....

Mehldau Marvels At Jazztopad

  The entire spectrum can dazzle at Jazztopad, a Polish festival in...

Read More.....

Jazz FM Awards return for 2019

The Jazz FM Awards return for a sixth time next...

Read More.....

Chick Corea, Madeleine Peyroux and Kamaa…

The organisers of the Love Supreme Jazz Festival, which runs...

Read More.....

Peter Boizot 1929 – 2018

The press obituaries for Peter Boizot, who has died aged...

Read More.....

David Mossman – 17 July 1942 - 8 Decembe…

Ahead of starting the Vortex in 1988, there is nothing...

Read More.....

Greg Fox and Pulverize The Sound punish …

  The second phase of Poland’s Jazz Jantar festival involved five nights...

Read More.....

Astral Progression Ensemble and Irrevers…

  Jazz Jantar has been running in the northern Polish port...

Read More.....

Making The Cut Mpu 300x500px

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

Jazzwise proudly presents a selection of tracks from some of the top-rated albums in our February issue, which is a… https://t.co/vbDjLzwfim
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@christopherhope Don't be petty, be smart or witty. Try harder.
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