The call and response of Mekuria's war chant-laced saxophone lines against the pulsating barbs of Kat Bornefeld's drumming and Arnold De Boer's vocals delivering a late night dose of hedonism on the final day of panels, round tables and keynote addresses. The smiles beaming from long-time punk practitioners embracing all the same contradictions and juxtapositions as the large, hip crowd on their feet in rapt attention for Xavier Charles' wicked clarinet solo. The outstanding - at times acrobatic and seizure-like - dancing of Malaku Belay providing a flash of movement into the multicultural spectacle. A performance that crossed many of the boundaries and borders the Guelph Jazz Festival seeks to blur as part of its mandate delivered with an added visceral punch.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Guelph Jazz Festival 2009: Defying Borders with The Ex
Guelph, Ontario is a progressive college town filled with contradictions. Healthy vegan cuisine is as readily available as a smoldering cigarette. A colloquium populated with heady, intellectuals passionate about probing the academic angles of improvisation theory along with a free, 12-hour jazz tent that brings improvisational practice literally to the street. A wall of black and white portraits - many faded to brown - of Anglican priests gazing sternly into the basement of St. George's Church as a full house dances to the infectious rhythms of Ethiopian jazz great Getatchew Mekuria playing saxophone with the left-wing Dutch punk band The Ex.