I flew to Vancouver early yesterday morning for the start of the jazz festival. Always a treat coming to my favourite city for what many consider to be the best-programmed festival in North America.
Jet lag took the edge off my enjoyment of Aki Takase's Fats Waller Project -- with Rudi Mahall, Eugene Chadbourne, Nils Wogram and Paul Lovens -- but it was a terrific, energetic and humour-filled show. I've never been a huge fan of Chadbourne's, but he fits well into this band, bringing some of Waller's nonsensical manic energy. Lovens is the perfect drummer for this, too; just a powerhouse, but never too loud.
The show, at the funky Vancouver East Cultural Centre, began with a set of duets between Takase and Mahall, which illustrated their great rapport. They both have a great sense of the absurd, and both the music and between-song banter between them was filled with humour. To say nothing of the fact that their both among the best technicians on their instruments.