By Martin Schray
The last day of the festival began with a quartet called TISM, an acronym that stands for the first names of Tom Rainey (drums), Ingrid Laubrock (sax), Sylvie Courvoisier (piano) and Mark Feldman (violin). The band filled a gap because for the first time the festival referred to a European approach to improvised music (Courvoisier comes from Switzerland, Laubrock from Germany), which met musicians associated with the New York downtown scene. The main focus was on extended techniques. Rainey used all sorts of additional elements to create sounds, Courvoisier played the interior of the piano and prepared parts of the instrument, creating abstract rhythmic blocks that then clashed with Feldman’s and Laubrock's curved lines. A tight field of tension was established that way. The most interesting figure in this arrangement was Courvoisier, as the music she generated (harp-like notes, strident piano clusters, xylophone sounds) enormously expanded the spectrum and at the same time drove the improvisation forward.
Then, however, the focus of the music shifted again, back to Afro-American jazz history, visual art, dance, and poetry. Dance of the Comedians, a project by the German artist Jorgo Schäfer with Vincent Chancey (french horn), Joe Fonda (bass) and Jeremy Carlstedt (drums), was introduced with a Nietzsche text recited by Schäfer on which the name of the band went back to. Before the show it was announced that Schäfer would create a work of art, whereby most probably expected a painting. But the whole thing was rather the unveiling of a work of art in which Schäfer gradually presented nine paintings with similar themes, showing black skeletons. In addition, Chancey's french horn initiated a new timbre for the festival, which was also possible because he used his right hand as a kind of muffler with which he could make the horn sound like a cornet. Joe Fonda and Jeremy Carlstedt provided a solid rhythmic foundation for this.
|Dance of the Comedians|
With the penultimate act, the festival program tried to get back to the modern age again and increasingly relied on poetry and vocals on it. The large formation Heroes Are Gang Leaders under the direction of Thomas Ellis Sayers consisted of James Brandon Lewis (tenor saxophone), Melanie Dyer (viola), Luke Stewart (bass), Jenna Camille (keyboards), vocals), Randall Horton (poetry), Devin Brahja Waldman (alto sax, synth), Jaimie Branch (trumpet), Bonita Penn (poetry), Nettie Chickering (vocals), Brandon Moses (guitar) and Warren “Trae“ Crudup (drums). With Brandon Lewis, Branch and Stewart three members of the Unruly Quintet, which rocked the house the day before, were on stage but this project could not reach the intensity of that quintet. Ultimately, the music was reminiscent of an ambitious jazz musical with occasional free outbursts that reflected anger and rage.
|D.D. Jackson Bluiett Tribute Band|
To sum up, the 24th Vision Festival was musically denser than the festival the year before and there were fewer mediocre shows in the end. The highlights this year were certainly the performances of God Particle, Kris Davis's Trio January Painters, and James Brandon Lewis Unruly Quintet. However, there is still room for improvement for the anniversary festival next year. The really annoying photographers should be clearly put in their place, as the loud clicking noises of the cameras are particularly annoying. Moreover, a stronger integration of European musicians would also be desirable, because the community idea is a worldwide one.