Reviews that mention Michael Alizon

January 8, 2014

Festival Report

Festival Jazzdor Strasbourg
By Ken Waxman

A mercantile and European Union government centre, Strasbourg is a sophisticated French city with a large university, massive fortifications, picturesque canals and a renowned cathedral. Although La Marseillaise was composed and first sung in Strasbourg it’s also part of Alsace which was ceded to Germany from 1871-1918 and 1940-1944. Overcoming this historical enmity, for the past 11 years Festival Jazzdor has included a series of concerts in the nearby German city of Offenburg.

This year’s festival (November 8 to 22) was no different. One of its highlights was Günter Baby Sommer’s Bopp-Art Percussions in Offenburg’s Reithalle in Kulturforum. Featuring the veteran drummer’s quartet of saxophonist Frank-Paul Schubert, trombonist Gerhard Gschlößle and bassist Antonio Borghini, it matched their fiery blistering improvisations with a three-man Taiko ensemble plus Katharina Hilpert’s ethic and traditional flutes which bridged the two solitudes. Although the white blouses worn by the percussionists made them look like chefs, their massive drums and gongs resonations merely spiced the program with the Sommer four which provided the main meal. The several courses included traditional Saxon marches, slinky set pieces and experimental excursions where the horns injected gospel-like and Dixieland inflections emotions into frenetic line deconstruction. Prominent were tunes such as Like Don” and “Art Goes Japan”, which honored Sommer’s heroes Don Cherry and Art Blakey. The former featured a Schubert reimaging of a Cherry head, while the dynamism of the latter was maintained as the bearded, diminutive drummer put an individualist stamp on many of Blakey’s distinctive runs. MORE