Home     Content     Articles      La Scena Musicale     Search   

La Scena Musicale - Vol. 7, No. 9

A Festival with an Edge

by Paul Serralheiro / June 1, 2002

Version française...

Jazz fans who hunger for an alternative to the mainstream fare offered in the summer festival season will appreciate the program of performers scheduled in the "Suoni per il popolo 2002," the second annual improvised music festival at Montreal's Casa del Popolo and La Sala Rossa on Boulevard St. Laurent.

Scheduled to run June 3-23, between Victoriaville's Festival International de Musique Actuelle and the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, "Suoni per il popolo (II)" begins with a three-night extravaganza (June4-5-6) featuring German master saxophonist Peter Broetzmann and nine other musicians working in different permutations.

"I'm really looking at having some really exciting and interesting things happen," says Mauro Pezzente, co-owner of the Casa del Popolo. "There'll be no middle-of-the-road straight standard jazz here," he adds, "so it will provide some alternatives not heard in the big festival." Topping off the list of headliners will be cutting edge tenor saxophonist David S. Ware (June 7), leading bassist William Parker (June 7-8) and drumming legend Sunny Murray (June 9). What's more, a strong local contingent, most notably the team of Jean Derome and Joane Hetu, will also launch a record of their own on the Ambiances Magnetiques label.

While the Casa itself is a very small venue compared to those in and around Place des Arts, it also has a somewhat larger hall across the street, La Sala Rossa. But the intimacy in both venues enables audiences and performers to feed off each other in a highly charged way. And this is what draws such seasoned artists as Broetzmann and Murray, both of whom could opt for more prestigious engagements. "Peter Broetzmann came here once last year and really loved the place," says Pezzente. "There's not lots of money, but they're extremely happy about playing here."

Of all shows scheduled, the biggest coup of the event is Free-Jazz legend Sunny Murray. For his show, this one-time sideman of Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler will share the stage with multi-instrumentalist Sabir Mateen and bassist Alan Silva, and the smaller venue of the Casa will be ideal, too. "I want it to be packed, just to get that energy level up there," adds Pezzente enthusiastically.

The musical focus will be on the avant-garde, an approach favouring the meeting of music and art, for which painters like Jackson Pollock and composers like John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen stand alongside Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk as sources of inspiration. Variously called 'free form', 'high energy' or 'improv' music, it is truly an art form that avoids the tried and true.

"But this festival is not just jazz," states Pezzente. "It's about other kinds of improvised music and generally improvised anything." What it all boils down to is sheer excitement. "I don't like categories!" exclaims Pezzente. "They're useful for understanding differences and approaches, but I'm more interested in something that's both exciting and energetic." (Info about tickets at (514)284-3804. Website info at: www.casadelpopolo.com )


Version française...

(c) La Scena Musicale