Thursday, July 25, 2013

Jazzaldia 2013: day 1

© Fernando Ortiz de Urbina

The succession of free gigs around the Kursaal auditorium make the first day of Jazzaldia a whole different business from the rest of it. For some, it's joyful and a communal experience. For others, it's the mob.

We're all old enough too keep banging on about stylistic considerations and ask ourselves what do we really want from music. At best, it should make us dance and jump, reflect and scream, laugh and cry... while it tears our hearts out like Indiana Jones' and replaces them tenderly, as many times as it wishes.

Jazz, music, art in general, at their best, seem to stem from this dialogue:
—What if we do...?
—Why not?!
© Fernando Ortiz de Urbina

What if we put together a band with two drum kits, a vibraphone, assorted percussion, electric bass, two electric guitars with their respective effects, a horn section (trumpet, alto, tenor and bari saxes), a theremin, voices... and, actually, whatever else we may think of. We could also add some dancers. And a painter working during the gig. And a big video screen in the background. How about a giant jellyfish-shaped balloon? Make it fly over the stage. And over the audience too.

What if this orchestra plays music with plenty of vamps. Like the Mission Impossible theme. Music for dancing. Lots of it. And binary rhythms, like Sabre Dance. And in three. And in four, that's perentory. And in five, like Dave Brubeck could never imagine. And some of that jazz that goes from Mingus through Bill Barron's ensembles to Mostly Other People Do The Killing. And rock guitars. And some nice chord sequences. And monster unisons. And polkas. And some ska...

All of the above exists and has a name: SHIBUSASHIRAZU ORCHESTRA, which unlucky Cinderellas missed on the 24th. That, and the chance to see the whole of Zurriola beach jumping and dancing at 2 a.m. On a Thursday.

Shibusashirazu Orchestra
© Fernando Ortiz de Urbina

Earlier that evening...

ROBERT GLASPER: quartet. Funk is like a good dessert. It can save anything. Take a good bassist (Derrick Hodge) and a good drummer (Mark Colenburg), and you'll be able to play anything on them. Vocoder is not such a versatile resource as some seem to think. One of the best moments happened with Casey Benjamin on alto sax and without Glasper. Ponder that.

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