From here the tour kicked into overdrive, the band played a series of one nighters from the 21st through the 25th: Zurich, Niederstetten, Wels, Salzburg, and Dachau. By the time the band hit the stage in Zurich (for the Taklos Festival), I was exhausted but Ready-To-Play. The group had been travelling since early morning on a series of trains, we arrived in town and went straight to soundcheck, tried to get a meal, then sat through a performance of Aki Takase’s Fats Waller project. Waiting that long before playing your first note is a struggle.
At this point, the configuration on stage for the Tentet shifted from the original configuration (stage right to left): myself, Fred, Mats, Joe, Peter, Johannes, Per-Åke; to a new format: Mats, Johannes, Fred, myself, Joe, Peter, Per-Åke (the rhythm section of two drum sets with the bass centered between them has remained the same, though Michael and Paal have been switching sides from night to night). This setup works extremely well, putting me in the middle has made it easier to set up certain time patterns with the rhythm section (Per-Åke comes over to join me on tuba or the cim basso in certain situations). Also, integrating the setup of horns and cello, with Mats and Peter almost in stereo and the trombone and trumpet split, has given the improvising a broader spectrum of sonic possibilities, moving things beyond sectional collections and more towards open ended musical combinations.
The next two gigs, in the small town of Niederstetten and in Wels, were among the best on the tour so far. As always, Elsibeth and Norbert treated us beautifully, while taking a huge gamble on presenting such a large project in a small town on a Monday night. Their risk paid off, however. We performed to a packed room of fans and the group played an exceptional concert. Of course, some of us were up too late with the two of them at their home after the gig, drinking white wine and schnapps (Johannes stated at about 3am that, “It’s hard work to play with you guys, but even harder to drink with you.”). Is there a better way to end a fine evening? Getting to Wels on the 23rd was harder than it should have been, but what are you going to do after playing a show like that, go right to bed?Å
On the way to Austria, I fell genericpropeciabuyonline.com/avodart.html asleep on the train and had a dream of Peter sitting at home listening to Steely Dan on the radio. Even while sleeping the image seemed impossible, but I really thought I could hear him humming along with the melody line. It turned out to have been muttering instead because once the tune ended Peter shook his head and said, “Das ist sheisse!” Even in a dream some things can’t be changed.
A little sleep before the show and another coffee. Here I bumped into Laurence and Marek who had driven from Poland to hear the concert. They had also been in Berlin to see the band the week before, and the next day they faced an eight hour drive back home before going to work- these are serious fans.
Every night, except in Zurich, the group has performed acoustically (aside from the cello and bass amps). In Wels we placed a stereo pair of mics in front of the band to help project the group into the dry sound of the venue, and this really helped the performance. When Sonore played in Wels last Fall we almost killed ourselves trying to get the horns to project like they normally do.
By this concert the band was moving organically between full ensemble to duos, walls of sound to shard-like attacks, to quiet and static tone clusters and with complete ease. In Wels there was a nice ballad stretch where Peter and I played clarinets against an introspective rhythm section, his lead melody ghosted as close as possible in pitch and rhythmic unison. Fred overcame a difficult amp situation by playing his ass off, pushing the cello into rounds of overdriven feedback and with an intense use of electronic possibilities. Once again, both sides of the musical spectrum were in full force.
© 2021 Ken Vandermark – musician & composer | Disclaimer