May 26, 2010

Colin Stetson, Matana Roberts & Shahzad Ismaily at Moers 2010

One day after this concert I overheard the conversation of two old jazz-fans. One of them said that the physical presence and power of Colin Stetson (a rather small man compared with his bass saxophone) was certainly impressive, but the musical skills of the man are hard to evaluate. There's not much reference for people who chose the bass sax as their main instrument. The man who made this statement was obviously rather doubtful. I'm not. The pumping circular breathing are a solid foundation and at the same time prove a sublime sense for rhythm on Stetson's side. Somewhere on the web I read that he liked to play solo bass sax concerts in front of rock audiences who were waiting for their standard so-called alternative rock breed. Some audiences were pissed off. Too bad. They shouldn't be.
Matana Roberts was playing abstract melodies on top of Stetson's rumble. The AACM signature was quite clear. The approaches of both sax players were very different, but they worked together and made sense out of it.
And then there was Ismaily. I've seen him three times during this festival, this concert being the first time. None of the three performances of Ismaily made sense to me. I was disturbed from the interplay between Stetson and Roberts by his drumming. I'm sorry to say that. Ismaily seems to be liked by many musicians whom I like - otherwise why should they all play with him? - and he must be a very nice and kind person according to the way he smiles. But I just wasn't able to see his musical merits in here... To me he seems to be like a man who spoiled himself by wanting to play too many instruments. Maybe he should abandon the drums and concentrate on his other strengths. We'll get back to this topic again later...

For now, check Lutz Eitel first, as usual, then...
the websites of Colin Stetson, Matana Roberts and
finally again the German concert promo.

/// I've edited this post a bit on 3rd of June. The verb "hired" has been replaced by something more fitting - as suggested in the comments below by Ryan on 28th of May. I've also tried now to stress that everything I said is my personal perception, impression and idea of the gig. The old version of this post was expressing things in a way that could hurt some feelings, which was not my intention.

7 comments:

Lutz Eitel said...

Man, you're too slow, still stuck on Friday :-) Ismaily is not a technically great drummer, agreed, but I thought him perfect here. If Stetson had chosen a powerhouse drummer, we would all have drowned in cliché, his choice of a Monkish kind of guy who thinks too much before he plays was perfect because it's a challenge.

Catch up some! Greetings, Lutz

Spring Day said...

Oh, if Plushmusic had provided me some internet access on the festival site, I might be a bit further already ;-) I think, I'll do one or three little concert reviews every day after work, so you can guess how slow I will be...

Anonymous said...

the ismaily/stetson/roberts group is a collaborative, leaderless, group. Ismaily wasn't "chosen" by Stetson or Roberts, it was a mutual coming together amongst colleagues who are also good friends from what I was told by all of them at the fest ( im a freelnace music writer).

thanks,
Ryan

Spring Day said...

Thanks for helping me to get things straight. There certainly is a difference between leader-based and collective musical groups which I should have taken into account. When I spoke of "hiring" it was total nonsense. Sorry for that (and to Mr. Ismaily, too, who I know has been reading this post, too). Nevertheless, according to my concept of friendship - which is influenced by the essays of Gilbert Keith Chesterton - I think to use of the word "choose", which you used, is kind of appropriate. Because I think in every friendship there's a process of mutual choice going on, friends choose each other. (Though, as I know from Chesterton, this choice can be informed by the surrounding we live in.)

ayu1234 said...

oh my god, I am soooooo bad with names. whatever. if this was the group, which with the lady trumpet who played standing still, I have to say, I like her soooo much.

Spring Day said...

No, that wasn't this concert. There was no trumpet player here. What you mean is probably Sanne van Hek's concert. This concert here is drums, bass saxophone and alto saxophone.

Spring Day said...

Matana Roberts was the other lady standing still that you liked very much. But standing still with an alto sax.