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REVIEW: Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin @ Alberta Rose/PDX Jazz Fest (Portland, OR – 2/25/11)

1st Mar 11 (Tue) 2 comments

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

Despite Grammy-winner Esperanza Spalding going on at the same night as part of Portland Jazz Fest 2011, I wasn’t going to miss Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin.  I got into Ronin with 2006’s Stoa.  Nik’s way of creative a funky, piano-based jazz setting captured my attention.  And being from Switzerland, the chances to see Ronin are few and far between (their U.S. Tour consisted of four dates: Oakland, Portland, Knoxville & New York).  First, the opener…

First up was Portland’s own Blue Cranes.  I had heard of them, and I was glad to make it to the club early enough to catch their set.  Great reed-driven quartet.  They started out with a guest sax player and a string trio (with Anna Fritz, whom I’ve seen/heard before).  They were genteel at first, but also drove the tempo up with some raucous solos and melodies.

Songs I caught the names of their hour-long set (I missed the opening song’s name): Love Love Love (by Wayne Horvitz), Hated Because of Great Qualities (by Blonde Redhead), Grandpa’s Hands (featuring toy piano), Beware of the Pneumatic Nailer, Soldier (with strings), Ritchie Bros., and Maddie Mae.  Sha from Ronin joined them on-stage for a number as well.  They’re heading out on an 30-day Amtrack tour soon… kicking off March 19th @ Tony Starlight‘s in Portland.

RONIN is Nik Bärtsch on piano, Kaspar Rast on drums, Andi Pupato on percussion, Sha on the alto and bass clarinet, and Thomy Jordi on bass.  Their latest album, Llyrìa, came out on ECM in October 2010 and features what Nik calls “moduls.”

A “modul” is an unnamed, but numbered musical entities that can be woven together.  Per Nik (in his interview with Oregon Music News), “when a module combination makes dramaturgically and formally sense and creates a coherent piece, I give a number to it.

Friday’s show was primarily pulled from the moduls in Llyrìa.  Interwoven, interlocking, overlapping pieces played through the air as the dimly, strategically lit stage changed to fit the sounds.  Color and music formed an fantastic audio and visual masterpiece.  The moduls started with a slow rumble and grew and warped throughout their long set.  Very much jazz-centric, but also many elements of rock, funk, and progressive music.  The PDX Jazz Fest brought Nik to town in 2008, but I’m hoping it doesn’t have to be another three years before we get to see this amazing live act again in Oregon.

more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

Next show for me… Damien Jurado & Viva Voce at Doug Fir Lounge on Friday, 3/4.

~Dan – np: Mike PattonA Perfect Place

NIK BARTSCH PDX JAZZ FEST PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2011 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

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Nik Bartsch’s Ronin @ PDX Jazz Fest (2/25)

22nd Feb 11 (Tue) Leave a comment

If you missed your chance to get tickets to see Grammy-winning ‘Best New Artist’ Esperanza Spalding on Friday, February 25th at the Portland Jazz Fest.  Well, you’re out of luck – unless you can win some or find a reasonable scalper.

My choice for PDX Jazz Fest’s Feb 25th offering was always Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin anyway!  That show is Friday, February 25th – 8:30pm, Alberta Rose Theater.

Nik Bärtsch is a Swiss pianist & composer.  His albums with his band Ronin are more on the rock/funk side of the jazz continuum, and on record, it is stunning.  I can’t wait to see him live.

Check out some Ronin sound samples on Amazon (click the album covers below):

And lucky for you, tickets are still available!!  Find out how to get tickets HERE.

~Dan – np: Nik Bärtsch’s RoninHolon

Zorn @ Marciac (Aug 2010)

11th Dec 10 (Sat) Leave a comment

If you have 54 minutes to kill… and, well, maybe you should clear your schedule… John Zorn & Co @ Marciac Jazz Fest 2010

August 11, 2010

1. Little Bittern
2. Anulikwutsayl
3. Exodus
4. Karaim
5. Lilin

JOHN ZORN – direction, saxophone
MARC RIBOT – guitar
JAMIE SAFT – piano, orgue
TREVOR DUNN – bass
KENNY WOLLESEN – vibraphone
JOEY BARON – drums
CYRO BAPTISTA – percussion

~Dan – np: AutorYnoPastrami Bagel Social Club

PDX Jazz 2011 Theme

23rd Sep 10 (Thu) 3 comments

Portland Jazz Festival (aka PDX Jazz) has announced their 2011 theme:

BRIDGES AND BOUNDARIES:
JEWISH & AFRICAN AMERICANS PLAYING JAZZ TOGETHER

FESTIVAL HEADLINERS INCLUDE: ESPERANZA SPALDING, SFJAZZ COLLECTIVE featuring STEVIE WONDER’s catalog, REGINA CARTER, AND JOSHUA REDMAN

February 18 through 27

Past, present and future collaboration between African Americans and Jewish Americans is the message behind Bridges and Boundaries: Jewish & African Americans Playing Jazz Together, the theme of the 2011 Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Portland Jazz Festival presented by US Bank. The festival, which annually selects a compelling musical and programming theme, will be held Friday, February 18 through Sunday, February 27 at venues throughout Portland. The complete festival lineup will be announced on October 13 when single show and special package tickets go on sale exclusively to PDX Jazz members. Tickets will become available to the general public on October 23.

A select few of this year’s culturally diverse headliners include Avishai Cohen, the Israeli trumpeter, one of the leading players in the new all-star SFJAZZ Collective, performing the work of African American pop icon Stevie Wonder. Cohen will also be joined by his siblings Anat Cohen and Yuval Cohen for a special performance of The 3 Cohens. Famed African American violinist Regina Carter will return to Portland, presenting her newest project, Reverse Threads, which traces the musical history of African cultures, including tribes of Ugandan Jews. And, Joshua Redman, son of African American saxophonist Dewey Redman and Jewish American dancer Renee Shedroff, leading his new James Farm Quartet that includes both African American and Jewish American musicians.

African and Jewish American community leaders, Portland Jazz Festival’s new Artistic & Community Ambassador Esperanza Spalding (who will lead her new Chamber Music Society in an exclusive Portland area engagement), and many other artists will participate and interact in panel discussions and “Jazz Conversations” focusing on artistic and social perspectives. National jazz journalists, writers, and critics-including Nat Hentoff-will also participate in these events.

For a complete schedule of events, please visit:

www.pdxjazz.com

I’m excited about the SF Jazz Collective and their 2011 Stevie Wonder theme (though it won’t have Dave Douglas and Joe Lovano this year), but I’m mainly excited about Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin.  Holy cow, they’re good.

~Dan – np: Andy McKeeOne World

PDX Jazz Fest // Nellie McKay

8th Jan 10 (Fri) Leave a comment

Two unrelated news items…

PDX Jazz Fest is just over 6 weeks away… if you like live music and live anywhere near Portland, Oregon, you need to check this out.  It’s a great festival.  This year’s line-up is pretty darn excellent, if you ask me.  I’m hitting three of them (Holland, Sanders & Douglas)…

Headliners

Thursday, February 25 – Luciana Souza
Friday, February 26 – Mingus Big Band
Saturday, February 27 (3pm) – Trygve Seim & Frode Haltli
Saturday, February 27 (7:30) – Dave Holland Quintet *
Sunday, February 28 (3pm) – Pharoah Sanders
*
Sunday, February 28 (7:30) – Dave Douglas Brass Ecstasy
*

The whole week of Feb 21-28 (2010) is full of other great local and national jazz artists as well… all over town.  For tickets and more information: http://www.pdxjazz.com/

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Nellie McKay has released a few 2010 tour dates on her webpage (very scattered so far).  The Seattle date is with Garrison Keillor‘s A Prairie Home Companion… fuuuun.  I’m planning to make the trek up to that show.

  • 1/7/2010 Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
  • 2/18/2010 New York, NY The Allen Room at Lincoln Center
  • 4/3/2010 Seattle, WA Paramount Theater – A Prairie Home Companion
  • 4/10/2010 Delaware Water Gap, PA Deerhead Inn
  • 6/1/2010 New York, NY Feinstein’s at The Regency
  • 9/17/2010 Monterey, California, United States Monterey Jazz Festival

I’m sure more dates will trickle in throughout the year.  Go to her tour page for more info.

~Dan – np: Miles DavisPorgy & Bess

Portland Jazz Fest 2010 – huzzah!!!

14th Oct 09 (Wed) Leave a comment

OYG!  The headlining line-up for this coming year’s Portland Jazz Festival is rad.

Thursday, February 25, 7:30pm, Hilton Pavilion Ballroom, Luciana Souza
Friday, February 26, 7:30pm, Newmark Theater, Mingus Big Band
Friday, February 26, 9:30 pm, Norse Hall, In The Country
Saturday, February 27, 3:00pm, Norse Hall, Trygve Seim & Frode Haltli
Saturday, February 27, 7:30pm, Newmark Theater, Dave Holland Quintet
Saturday, February 27, 9:30 pm, Norse Hall, Christian Wallumrød Ensemble
Sunday, February 28, 3:00pm, Newmark Theater, Pharoah Sanders
Sunday, February 28, 7:30pm, Crystal Ballroom, Dave Douglas Brass Ecstasy

I’m definitely going to the Dave Douglas show… and the other bold shows are definitely good possibilities.  More acts to follow in the coming months.  The festival runs February 22-28, 2010.

Tickets go on-sale October 27th at TicketMaster (or October 14th – 10am if you are a PDX Jazz member).

Find out more at:

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

A totally unrelated sidenote… Texas band of rock siblings Eisley just released a new EP called Fire Kite (digital only, out Oct 9th).  Album cover looks Jebus-y (or at least it’s geometrically-inclined with potentially religious ambivalence)… DL’ing now… we shall see…

~Dan – np: MegadethEndgame

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