Saturday, September 08, 2007

Guelph Jazz Festival

Guelph is one festival that challenges you in many ways: it occurs in what is usually the most time-challenged weeks of the year; it demands that you stay up late and get up early; and most significantly, it hurls ideas at you.

After a late night catching up with friends and listening to Rob Manzurek’s Exploding Star Orchestra and the Toronto collective Do Make Say Think, it was demanding to hear a 9 a.m. keynote address by Anthony Braxton. One feared a dense, frustrating presentation like the one Ornette Coleman delivered at last winter’s IAJE; instead, what was delivered was a fascinating lecture that crystallized 30 years of listening to Braxton’s music into total clarity. Not only did it clarify a lot of Braxton’s unique musical nomenclature and language, but it clarified – reinforced, really – the fact that Braxton’s humanity crackles through everything he puts his hand to.

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