4 November 2011

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Day 2 of “Long Story Short” includes the screening of the “Soldier Of The Road” documentary, and 4 performances at the Schl8hof: The Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet with John Tchicai and Keiji Haino as guests, Okkyung Lee/Xu Fengxia/Michiyo Yagi, Peter Brotzmann/Mashiko Satoh/Takeo Moriyama, Joe McPhee/Maallem Mokhtar Gania/Fred Lonberg-Holm/Michael Zerang, Peter Brotzmann/Michiyo Yagi/Tamaya Honda- yes that’s right, Peter played 3 times, full force on each set. In a startling move, Tchicai opted to play flute with the Tentet but the idea proved to be a good one because it reigned in the band, forcing us to work at a lower/less dense volume at times- opening the 1st day of the festival in the main hall was exciting and the group could have become a wall of sound; instead we played with variety and a sense of scale. After 30 minutes with Tchicai, Haino joined the group. During the soundcheck Peter indicated that the horns should play sparingly and not compete with Haino, allowing him free reign with the rhythm section; which was also contrary to the musicians expectations and, again, the music became much more a collaboration with the guest instead of the guest fitting into the Tentet’s specific world. I caught 20 minutes of the Lee/Fengxia/Yagi set, some extraordinary string music and textures, but I wanted to save my ears for the 3rd act on the program and I’m glad I did. The trio set with Brotzmann/Satoh/Moriyama was mind-blowing, particularly the 2nd long piece because by that point the sound technician had got things right in the room. The music was about energy and velocity, but it was filled with grace and communication- exhilarating and to see/hear Moriyama for the first time in such an outstanding setting… it’s going to hard to find a better set of music this weekend. I listened to some of the McPhee/Gania/Lonberg-Holm/Zerang set, but I caught their soundcheck and I enjoyed that more because the sound was much better; at the concert things were loud and muddy- not the musicians fault. Most of the rest of the evening I caught up with Terrie Hessels and Emma Fischer over some wine at the bar. Despite already playing two intense sets of music, Peter ended the night with Yagi and Honda with total energy, pushing the musicians as hard as they pushed back. It was the 1st time I got to hear Honda play, and he sounded absolutely great. The Chicago Tentet from Wuppertal, earlier this year: