After listening to the ICP Orchestra perform with 80 year old Ethiopean tenor sax legend, Getatchew Mekurya, I collapsed in one of the dressing rooms to try and catch some sleep- not easy with Han Bennink, Cor Fuhler, Paul Lovens, Toby Delius, etc. in there with me, but I was completely wiped out. Woke up after a half hour, drank 3 cups of espresso, and set up for the sextet, excited to play with these musicians again and with Tony Buck for the first time. Mats and I sat on the side of the stage while the strings and drums started.
– “Give me a look when you want us to come out Terrie.”
– “Yeah Ken, sure. Ha, ha, aha ha!”
The last time I was in a situation like this was when I sat in with Terrie, Andy, Han Bennink and Hamid Drake at the Wels festival a couple of years ago. Terrie gave me “the look” while he and Andy were kicking a metal milk crate around the stage like a football…
The starting four hit the stage in an explosion- not noise, but sound and music. The volume was huge. I sat on the side of the stage looking at my bass clarinet, laughing. After some time, music moving, Terrie looked over and I shook my head – “No way.” He laughed as Mats and I walked out, Terrie bucking and weaving, drums grooving hard as we made our way towards Andy and the mics. Surprisingly, I could hear myself as Mats and I layered heavy reed lines on top of the rhythmic barrage laid down by the drums and guitars. But the music moved, not as just a wall of sound- a wall of details, to details in islolation, turning sideways and forwards. The music was charged and the audience put the energy back to us.
After leaving the stage I went to catch the EX (Andy and Terrie running to make the start in time) playing highlights from their back catalog, Roze on electric bass and kicking ass. No nostalgia trip, a quick look back before turning forward again. More coffee and John Butcher solo and ELECTRELANE – both striking and fitting side by side – before spinning funk cuts until 3:30am; cut off for an early stop (supposed to go to 5am with help from Andy) by the club manager and the dancers were pissed. Can’t blame them, who wants James Brown, et al shut down? Got to bed around 6am, first a beer with Tony Buck and the Subterranean folks (Mara and Mark) who were graciously putting us up for the weekend.
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