A Festival with an Edgeby Paul Serralheiro
/ June 1, 2002
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
"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
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