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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

Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin (PDX Jazz Fest)

26th Feb 11 (Sat) Leave a comment

Last night’s Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin show at the Alberta Rose Theatre as part of the 2011 Portland Jazz Festival last night was amazing… due to work and other commitments, I won’t be able to edit and post the photos until probably Monday or Tuesday.  UPDATE: the review is live now, sorry about the delay.

(more coming soon)

Check back sometime next week!

~Dan

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

PDX Jazz Fest starts THIS WEEK

15th Feb 11 (Tue) Leave a comment

The Portland Jazz Festival (aka PDX Jazz Fest) kicks off this Friday, February 18th, 2011.  It boasts a great line-up of acts that brings attention to the theme Bridges & Boundaries – Jewish & African-American jazz playing together.  And now, it boasts new Grammy award winner – Esperanza Spalding!  Congrats!

PDX Jazz Fest 2011 – Headliners

  • Friday, February 18, 7:30pm, Winningstad Theater, Randy Weston
  • Saturday, February 19, 7:30pm, Winningstad Theater, Anat Fort
  • Sunday, February 20, 7:30pm, Winningstad Theater, Dave Frishberg
  • Thursday, February 24, 7:30pm, Newmark Theater, Don Byron
  • Friday, February 25, 7:30pm, Newmark Theater, Esperanza Spalding
  • Friday, February 25, 9:30pm, Crystal Ballroom, Poncho Sanchez
  • Friday, February 25, 9:30pm, Alberta Rose Theatre, Nik Bartsch’s Ronin
  • Saturday, February 26, 2:00pm, Crystal Ballroom, The 3 Cohens
  • Saturday, February 26, 7:30pm, Newmark Theater, SFJAZZ Collective
  • Saturday, February 26, 8:00pm, Tony Starlight’s, Gerald Clayton
  • Saturday, February 26, 9:30pm, Crystal Ballroom, Regina Carter
  • Sunday, February 27, 2:00pm, Newmark Theater, Joshua Redman
  • Sunday, February 27, 7:30pm, Crystal Ballroom, Maceo Parker
    FULL SCHEDULE (Feb 18-27)

I’m most excited about Nik Bartsch’s Ronin (above) set on Friday the 25th.  That and other shows still have available tickets.  If you’re in town, head on over to pdxjazz.com for the info.  If you’re out of town, head on over to Alaska Airlines and get your plane ticket along with your festival tickets.  This is not a fest to miss!

~Dan – np: Ozric TentaclesPungent Effulgent 

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