12 Points! may be a precocious child of only two, but already the festival of new European jazz has endeared itself to music devotees in Dublin, joining the dots to Europe’s other creative hubs, and carving out a niche as an indispensable showcase for exciting talent from across the union. SAT 8 MARCH 2008
From Vienna Radio.String.Quartet.Vienna.
The information age has fostered understanding, interdependence and openness between all musicians who are alive to creative possibility, and its happening in the string quartet world with groups like Amsterdam’s Zapp, London’s Basquiat Strings and our 12 Points visitors form Austria, Radio. String.Quartet.Vienna. Violinists Bernie Mallinger and Johannes Dickbauer, violist Cynthia Liao and cellist Asja Valcic first convened as a scratch band for a studio project, and the empathy and rapport of that day continues to fuel their exploratory approach, which pushes the string quartet’s dynamic range and grooves with as much brio as any orthodox jazz line up. They floored audiences at The Berlin Jazz Festival in 2006 with music from their debut on ACT, Celebrating The Mahavishnu Orchestra, where their funky, supple arrangements came with a glowing tribute from the music’s author John McLaughlin, and we think you’ll feel the same way.
From Leeds via Belfast Bourne/Davis/Kane
Hard to credit that it’s five years since Mathew Bourne, then in his early twenties, played a solo set at ESB Dublin Jazz Festival, and the pianist has lost none of his unpredictable, instinctive modus operandi in the interim. He’s back with Belfast stalwarts, drummer Steve Davis and bassist Dave Kane with whom he’s just released “Lost Something” for UK independent Babel, but don’t expect music from any consensual view of the piano trio. Capable as this prodigiously gifted pianist is of moments of tender lyricism and very forthright swing, both of which could very well happen, this trio’s natural milieu seems somewhere that subverts jazz convention, from volatile forms that teeter toward implosion to a slightly demonic humour that appropriates a grab bag of popular culture motifs for its own amusement, and yours too.
From Oslo The Core
From Oslo, here comes The Core, out to rehabilitate any notions of Norwegian jazz as somehow austere and hymnal. Bristling with dark resolve, The Core have conjured a neat trick, with an unashamedly retro take on Coltrane’s great post bop toward free quartets of the late ’60s, made sound as though it were minted yesterday. The sense of excitement and discovery can be attributed to the positive collective psyche of four outstanding young Norwegian musicians in drummer Espen Alberg, pianist Erlend Slettovel, bassist Steinar Raknes and saxophonist Jørgen Mathisen, who attack the band’s largely modal repertoire with real gusto and then back it up with both energy and stamina, the grit that’s often conspicuously absent in today’s jazz.