Thursday, July 16, 2009

MoldeJazz '09 - Cecil Taylor, Frode Gjerstad & Han Bennik

Cecil Taylor played a solo gig on Wednesday evening. He was in good form, playing with great dynamism and verve, mostly concentrating on his percussive and rhtyhmically complex music, intercut by sudden quietude and pianissimo. I've heard it said that Taylor's so original that his style has yet to be picked up by younger musicians, but I dare say I hear some of his touch in the work of Vijay Iyer with Fieldwork, especially when it comes to the percussive elements, 'though the playing of Tyshawn Sorey in that same group may have influenced me in making that statement.

Multi reed player (he played clarinet, bass clarinet and alto today) Frode Gjerstad and Dutch drummer, comedian and contorionist (well, not really) Han Bennikk played a fun gig earlier today. Gjerstad is one of the country's best improvisational sax players (I'm quite fond of his work with William Parker and Hamid Drake). Han Bennik is nothing if not inventive - one of his more "normal" techniques involves using his foot to "mute" the drum skin - but that wouldn't matter unless he also had chops, which he does. His ability to go from all over the place to find forceful grooves is very enjoyable. He also is notorious for his antics, using found objects as percussion, which makes a musical experience with him humorous as well. But the antics sometimes distract from the music itself as the audience chuckle, and occasionaly today Gjerstad appeared to be overshadowed by Bennik. Most of the time, though, they played very well and make highly interesting music together. Oh, and Bennik dropped a cymbal on Gjerstad's foot. Ouch!

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