13 March 2012

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After three beautiful days in St. Johann, my second tour of the spring really starts- the Resonance Ensemble gets into a bus and heads to Vienna to perform at Porgy & Bess on the 12th. The group needed to play two sets and really only had enough material for one longer concert show, so I devise a piece that sequences three groups from the band intercut with elements from the “descriptive material” the ensemble uses (Four [with Waclaw Zimpel, Dave Rempis, Mark Tokar, Tim Daisy]; a trio of Michael Zerang, Magnus Broo, myself; and Inner Ear [Steve Swell, Mikolaj Trzaska, Per-Ake Holmlander, Tim Daisy]. The turnout for a Monday night at Porgy was good but, as always, I hoped for a full house and, after such an powerful response in St. Johann, I felt disappointed by the results of the band’s performance in Vienna. On Tuesday the group took the bus to Ljubljana where all elements seemed to work against us from the moment we drove into the city: looping around downtown Ljubljana over and over again trying to find access to the venue so we could soundcheck but the drum equipment hadn’t arrived; luckily taking new band photos with Ziga Koritnik, an excellent photographer; then finally working on a brand new piece for the group that I had transcribed while on the bus (very hard to write out parts over bumpy roads! and my pen exploded in my hand- nice). The run throughs went extremely well, so I gambled and decided to play the new composition to start the concert, figuring we’d remember it better this way- I was wrong, from the opening bar the ensemble was out of sync and really never regained its footing with the material, this created a confusion that lasted throughout the first set (to unintentionally further complicate things, I decided to re-sequence the pieces and soloists at this show). In addition, sight lines were bad so cues were hard to read, and the sound onstage was so dead no one could really hear each other… beautiful. The band is a strong one, however, and rallied for a much improved second set. It was again hard to “read” the audience, get a feeling for their impressions of the music from the stage, but at the conclusion of the performance they really wanted an encore- the group was too exhausted and played out so we came out for a bow. Resonance leaves Ljubljana at 5am for a 12 hour bus ride to Krakow, I know that I’ll spend much of that time reviewing the mistakes I made coordinating the performance in Ljubljana, figuring out how to improve the group communication and execution at the upcoming concerts in Poland. More Free Fall in Budapest: