[JPL] A Festival’s Name Says It All ...NYTimes

r durfee rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 5 15:09:49 EDT 2006


October 5, 2006
Music Review
A Festival’s Name Says It All 
By NATE CHINEN



The Festival of New Trumpet Music does precisely what
its name prescribes. Since being founded by the
trumpeter Dave Douglas in 2003, it has reveled in
newness and yes, trumpets, in rich profusion. And with
each new season, it has become more of a festival,
spreading out over the map as well as the calendar:
this year’s iteration will involve a total of nine
spaces by the time it concludes on Oct. 15 with a
benefit for music programs in New York City public
schools. 

That civic gesture is one indication of this
festival’s steady maturation; another would be its
nonprofit status, and the concomitant support of
several sources of arts funds. They helped underwrite
a series of five commissions, which will have their
premieres over three nights at Makor. Tuesday was the
first installment, with sets by the trumpeters Cuong
Vu and Peter Evans.

“The word ‘commission’ is kind of serious,” Mr. Vu
said half-jokingly as he introduced his two untitled
new compositions, confessing to some nervousness. If
he was actually concerned, he needn’t have been: the
music was smartly conceived and well executed by his
trio. 

In the first piece Mr. Vu and the electric bassist
Stomu Takeishi played lines that were carefully
entwined. The second found Mr. Takeishi and the
drummer Ted Poor antagonistically thrashing as if they
were in a metal band. 

Mr. Vu soloed clear-headedly over that combustible
churn, with streams of evenly clipped eighth notes and
the occasional triplet flurry. This is the brand of
soaring confidence that he routinely displays in the
Pat Metheny Group, a fact probably not lost on the
audience, which included Mr. Metheny. 

In the strongest parts of Mr. Vu’s set he seemed to be
playing his trumpet from within the stir rather than
above it. On “It’s Mostly Residual,” Mr. Vu and Mr.
Takeishi deftly used samplers and processors to
construct a layered atmosphere. The sensory effect was
enveloping and hypnotic, like standing on the deck of
a ship and watching a storm roll in. 

“Expressions of a Neurotic Impulse” took the opposite
tack but felt similarly immersive. Mr. Vu began with a
melodic tic, not unlike a car alarm, before Mr.
Takeishi took an extraordinary open-form solo complete
with electronic loops. Mr. Poor matched that protean
intensity, while Mr. Vu provided contrast with angelic
long tones. Mr. Vu was being stealthily subversive:
with one hand he manipulated a sampled chorus of
trumpet-generated whooshes, screeches and slurs.

Those sounds, among others, were integral to an
earlier set in which Mr. Evans, a serious technician,
gave the impression of laboring to avoid producing any
sound that could qualify as a note. His quartet,
featuring Brandon Seabrook on guitar and banjo, kept
up an emphatic din that would have been more likeable
with just a hint of a smile. 

The festival runs through Oct. 15 at various
locations; fontmusic.org.




Roy Durfee
P.O. Box 40219
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87196-0219
rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com

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