21 September 2012

Sharing a musical language

I have no idea how you’d pronounce Badcuyp, but I didn’t feel uncomfortable there. Contemporary jazz haunts are the same the world over: laid back, beery but not threatening, predominantly males but not unwelcoming to women, committed to a demanding art form so just a little aloof and essentially serious. Badcayp is impressive if grungy. Two performance spaces, upstairs and downstairs. The lower one is the bar with central band. The upper one is more a concert space with lighting and decent sound but it also has its own bar. The whole is unconcernedly rough-edged but well fit for purpose.

I dropped in to Badcuyp to hear Giulia Barba perform the tunes she will record with this band over the coming weekend. All part of the preparation for the studio. Julia is Italian (Bologna) and has studied at the Conservatorium in Amsterdam. She composed the charts and performs them on baritone sax and bass clarinet with a septet she put together for this project. They were impressive. I enjoyed the lovely clear front line horn harmonies, solid grooves and running walks, occasional floating soundscapes of ill-defined pitch, melodies in various styles that played with unexpected pitches. There were some lovely ballads, some frantic accelerandos and respites, some fascinating structural movements and colour changes with various mixes of instruments. I loved one duo with the sharp tikita of tabla-vocals playing off against the sinuous bass clarinet, and another with these vocals and piano. I enjoyed a range of soloists. The piano was considered and tasteful with a sung accompaniment, although it could explode into release of fast and long passages. The alto was furious, seething, in constant motion. The flugelhorn was clear and bell-like and purposeful. I enjoyed one tune where the bass led in on solo against sparse three part horn lines, and ended in similar fashion. And just the breakneck speed of a walk that grew and faded in one tune that played with accelerations and decelerations. This was interesting writing that Giulia said she’s worked on for several years. The band was pulled together for this purpose and there was signalling and reading and struggles but that’s all part of the preparation for the recording. Quite challenging and broadly spoken and much enjoyed.

Giulia’s recording septet was Giulia Barba (baritone sax, bass clarinet), Sanem Kalfa (vocals), Gidon Nunes Vaz (trumpet, flugelhorn), Christian Ferlaino (alto sax), Sri Hanuraga (piano), Luca Dalpozzo (bass), Joan Terol Amigo (drums).

I also caught a few solos from the final tune of the preceding band when I arrived. This was the Michiel Stekelenburg Four playing music in the style of Scofield and Medeski, Martin & Wood and Soulive. Hot soloing, hard and manly, busy and loud. Sounding good but I heard too little of it. Just a pic. The band was Michiel Stekelenburg (guitar), Maarten Meddens (Rhodes), Thomas Pol (bass) and Salle de Jonge (drums).

1 comment:

Eric Pozza said...

How cool! Giulia has video from this very gig on her website. http://cargocollective.com/giuliabarba/AUDIO-VIDEO