Friday, July 03, 2009

Rain Outdoors, Music Indoors

The rain continues to fall in Ottawa. The ongoing downpours throughout the week and the rising water table can be measured in the area adjacent to the row of porta-potties closest to my office. At first the grounds crew put a few wood chips down on the wet grass. Then larger wood chips. Then plywood planks. Now, a couple of the planks are completely awash. Not pretty, but not exactly Woodstock, either. One can only wonder, though, how big a crowd might've turned out to hear Wayne Shorter last night had the weather been more stable.

I stayed indoors to catch a magnificent set by Trio M, a somewhat one-dimensional Canadian d├ębut by the Finnish band Ilmiliekki, and the performance by the festival's composers collective. The latter had more than a few sonic train wrecks, but also some compelling improvisation on pieces by guitarist Michael Occhipinti, saxophonist Petr Cancura and pianist Andy Milne—three of the seven participating composers.

Later, at a somewhat lower-key jam session than Monday night's blowout, Andy and Petr combined for a rapturous Coltranesque excursion. Always good, too, to hear drummer Matt Wilson sitting in. His generosity and the sheer joy he takes from being a musician always shine through.

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