During the Montreal International Jazz Festival we had the pleasure to hear the Christian Vander Trio. Like many North American Magma amateurs, I had never seen Vander playing live before, so this was a real treat on its own. The concert was outdoors, at 10:00 pm, on one of the numerous stages of the Jazz Fest.
by Alain Lachapelle, Published 1995-11-01
In the audience there were people sporting Magma and Offering t-shirts and, quite naturally, some shouted "Magma" or "Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh" during the concert, which made Christian smile. The rather short set (just a bit more than an hour) was made exclusively of jazz material from Vander's two Trio discs, with Philippe Dardelle on upright bass (who looked a bit exhausted at the end!) and Emmanuel Borghi on piano. The set started out smoothly under the feverish applause of the crowd and proceeded to get more and more involved, to the point where Christian got really into it. This is an amount of dedication to one's music that is rather scarce these days. Christian does not only play the music, he is the music. Of course, we can't ask that from every musician, and this is what makes the Vander Trio an exceptional happening: the spirit of the music.
The following comment may be controversial, but I really find there was more drumming by this one man than there was by two drummers on the latest King Crimson tour. Vander gives himself totally and seeing the man play is something no recording can replace.
Anecdote: at one point, the bass drum pedal broke. This created an event by itself as Stella Vander, on the side of the stage, pointed it out to a stage tech, who proceeded to crawl to the side of the drum while the band was still playing, the audience whispering, everyone focusing on the operation. Bright cheers were heard when Christian pounded again at the bass drum and gave a nod. All in all, an excellent evening of music, and we only can hope that Vander and company will be more often in North America.
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more