Suedtirol Jazzfestival Alto Adige 2022 (Italy) – Part 1 – London Jazz News
Suedtirol Jazzfestival Alto Adige 2022
(Festival Overview and iPhone Snaps by Alison Bentley – Part 1 of 2)
High women – among the mountains surrounding Bozen/Bolzano, women have prominent roles in jazz. The theme of the festival this year was ‘Europa’, the work depicting a classic painting of the mythological figure playing an electric guitar. With her elegant curls, the guitarist from Leipzig Steffi Narr almost seemed to embody the character, here in an improvised duet with the drummer Olivier Steidle. (June 27) His guitar was growling, the antithesis of kitsch. The drums were powerful, bringing together punk and funk like a mountain storm in the deep cellar of the Waaghaus. You could feel the forced draft of the bass drum over the molten rock guitar and dripping bell sounds.
There are mountain views from the streets of Bolzano, including the ‘base camp’, Parco Cappuccini, surrounded by its Gaudi-esque wall; jousting tents sheltered us from the sun and the rain. The festival likes to bring newcomers together with established musicians, and a young British drummer Jas Kayser played with British saxophonist and rapper Soweto Kinch. (June 27) She studied at Berklee and was mentored by Terri Lyne Carrington. She brought a strong hip hop energy to Kinch’s improvised, sax and rap loops, but also a great subtlety, reminiscent of some M-Base drumming. She created textures behind her beautiful sax notes with mallet rolls and a big groove. Kinch is a great artist, freestyling using words contributed by the audience (who else would rhyme “gecko” with “prosecco”?)
In the mountain hut Stanglerhof Völs am Schlern, Turkish singer/cellist Sanem Kalfa and Mexican singer/bassist Fuensanta Mendez (June 28) had created songs for their three-day residency. Friends from Amsterdam, they had a relaxed vibe and their pure, clear voices matched well as a local rooster responded enthusiastically to the music. “See you on the other side of our journey,” they said, guiding us through songs and improvisations in Turkish, English, Spanish and Mexican dialect. Inspired by folk influences, they used electronica to create the faint echo of notes that disappeared like ghosts. Sometimes Méndez played the bass as a percussion instrument; sometimes Kalfa would put her cello down and move her arms as if playing a theremin, snatching notes in the air as she sang. As they developed their folk-influenced harmonies, it was as if there was no barrier between them and the audience, and the vocals were translucent as they coalesced and separated. in harmony. Back in Parco Cappuccini, I was only able to catch the end of the Slovenian duo’s set Ana Cop and Kristijan Krajncan. It was enough to appreciate Cop’s ethereal voice in tandem with Krajncan’s cello and subtle electronics, refracting like light on the mountains behind.
In the Parco the following night (June 29) singer Emma Nagythe Hungarian quintet seemed to blend modern modal jazz with indie rock; her voice was disarmingly natural, somewhere between Elina Duni and Billie Eilish. Their compositions were original and intriguing, often reaching a rocky climax and then drifting away at the end. One piece combined wordless vocals with smooth drums and bass and John McLaughlin-esque rock guitar (Peter Cseh). Another, written by Nagy when she was 17, laid a vocal and bass theme over guitar and piano arpeggios, reminiscent of Metheny. Pianist Krisztian Olah started a track with jazz variations on Bach’s “O Sacred Head” before fantastic bass undertones (Marcell Gyanyi) mixed with the bass drum (Adam Klausz.)
Then on the same stage, festival director Klaus Widmann presented a guitar duo: “Everyone knows Reinier Baas. (Netherlands.) After this concert everyone will know Ella Zirina. “(Latvia.) She was performing with her teacher, Baas, after winning the Under 25 First Prize at the 2022 Virtual Jazz Competition – and you could hear why. Zirina’s arrangement of “A Flower is a Lovesome Thing” contrasted arpeggios with full chords; another piece had a jerky five-step rhythm. In contrast, Baas’s composition (part of an opera based on Princess of the Dolomites) had overtones of “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”, its extraordinarily fast tracks bringing together the chords. “I Loves You Porgy” made the most of Zirina’s soft vibrato which communicated real feeling.
Next comes NEROVIVO, an Italian trio led by a young drummer Evita Polidoro (“Black” on odd days and “Alive” on even days,” she explained.) With guitarists Nicolò Faraglia and Davide Strangio, she created a set influenced by slow-burning trip hop. The guitarists made sounds like fireflies on brushes, spacious electronics like distant thunder. The propulsion was not created by harmony, but by creating rhythmic intensity as the quiet yet complex grooves intersected. The guitars overlap like percussion and attract us.
in the cellar of Batzen Sudwerk Ca’ de Bezzi, two late-night concerts demonstrated the art of noise. Mop Cut (June 29) describe their work as a “medium-length noise style”. They immersed themselves in the middle of things, the American singer based in Berlin Audrey Chen create dinghies in a language of its own; a yodelling savagery like Diamanda Galás in an industrial warehouse. Disorienting bursts of static and electronic impulses from the French guitarist Julien Desprez merged with the extraordinary energy of the Austrian drummer Lukas Konig. König had been there before (June 27) in another trio with American spoken word artist and political activist Moor Mother, and bassist/percussionist Shahzad Ismaily. Moorish mother hovered meditatively over the effects pedals of his microphone, waiting for the right moment. “Sometimes I feel like,” she intoned, “I feel like I’m the only one.” There was an irresistible passion and anger in his preacher’s cadences, echoed by König’s floating, uncompromising drumbeat; then the bass kept the groove going while the drums’ free form responded to its vigor and energy.
One of the many great things about this festival is the huge variety of music…