Thursday, 12 January 2012

sons d'hiver 2012 @ london resonance

words + photos _ gian paolo galasi

Last year I came to Vitry-Sur-Seine just to see Wadada Leo Smith and Gunter 'Baby' Sommer playing together. This first recognition culminated some months ago with my inteview with the trumpet player in Bologna during the AngelicA festival in May. The concert at the Theatre Jean Vilar was followed by a non completely satisfying performance of the Steve Coleman project titled 'Lingua Franca' [my reportage of both concerts in Italian for the webmagazine Elapsus, where you can access also to complete video footage of both the perforances].

Those two concerts were part of the 20th editions of the Sons D'Hiver festival, this year starting on Jan., 27 until Feb., 18 in different venues around the city of Paris. As every year, Sons D'Hiver will deal with the presentation of unedited concerts along with panel discussions and movies. For a complete view of the festival, you can check the full program of the concerts here.

The festival is connotated by some tributes (last year was the turn of Miles Davis and the 'blacksploitation' movie director Melvin Van Peebles). In this edition, Willie Dixon will be recognized as the sound scuptor and innovator he really was with a couple of concerts. Wadada Leo Smith and his band Organic will traslate the lexicon of the 'electric' Miles in our century leading us to a question: there is a relationship between Leo Smith, Willie Dixon and Miles Davis? 

Wadada Leo Smith and Gunther Baby Soemmer, 2011
For sure, and it is called spirituality, even if can be difficult to talk about it today: but while Wadada Leo Smith put in constant relationship his music with symbols, and a research for a ritualistic relationship between sound and space - and time, I would add - even if avoiding every reference to the blues as a musical style, but being so close to te source, the performance by Elliott Sharp and his quartet with Eric Mingus and Tracie Morris on voices, Melvin Gibbs on bass and Don McKenzie on drums, will emphasize how much Dixon identified himself and his music, even the most abstract, with the blues ("I am the blues").

Some days before, William Parker will present his work "How the World Changed It Self". Following one of his last rivers of inspiration leading him to blend together composition, improvisation and ethnic music - as on 2007 'Double Sunrise over Neptune' - with an ensemble featuring Mola Sylla on chant, mbira and doson 'ngoni, Sangeeta Bandhyopadhyay on chant, Bill Cole (double reeds, flutes), Rob Brown (alto), Klaas Hekman (bass saxophone), Cooper-Moore (percussions, piano, home-made instruments) and Hamid Drake (drums), Parker is now exploring another facet of his 'Universal Tonality' concept.

Other interesting acts will be Rob Mazurek's Sao Paulo Underground with Pharoah Sanders and the duets between Cooper-Moore and William Parker, pianists Craig Taborn and Vijay Iyer, tenorist Archie Shepp and pianist Joachim Kuhn, but the program is really full of surprises, as the possibly interesting tribute to Duke Ellington made by the Benoit Delbecq - disciple of Alan Silva, Muhal Richard Abrams, Steve Coleman and close collaborator of Steve Lacy and Mal Waldron.

Photos from "Sons D'Hiver", Vitry-Sur-Seine, 2011

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