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Rabble Without A Cause
Wednesday September 19th, 2012 with Bernard Stepien & Peter Hum
Summer Jazz part II: An Evening at the St-Emilion Jazz Festival

By coincidence, our Ottawa Citizen friend Peter Hum was vacationing last July on the island of Oléron just 15 nautical miles away from my summer home in France. France is the country that hosted 165 jazz festivals this summer in many different kinds of settings, usually some antique, medieval, renaissance or contemporary venues but also frequently coupled with a non-Jazz theme. It is so that in France, Jazz is considered as a major cultural contribution that looks good for any municipality that gets involved and that is good for business in general. Somehow, we got news of the première of the St-Emilion Jazz Festival which took place in a medieval village where some of the best Bordeaux wine is produced and shipped worldwide, thus the St-Emilion Jazz festival was a coupling between Jazz, St-Emilion wine and Perigord extra delicate food. Peter got it through facebook, myself through a banner in an article of the local Sud-Ouest newspaper that talked about a truck plunging into the ocean from the causeway leading to Peter’s vacation location. I just wanted to ensure the same fate didn’t occur to him. However, we quickly came to the conclusion that we could plot a trip against our wives legendary other priorities using each other as an alibi to go. It worked! Peter already reported this memorable outing on his blog: Of that night I only knew Dee Dee Bridgewater from way back in the ‘70s when she was into Free-Jazz on the New York scene, soon to drift away into more commercial configurations. I had never paid attention to Brian Blade but fortunately, Peter knew him well and guaranteed me that I would not be disappointed. Indeed, this was for me a real discovery. I know the functioning of the New York Jazz scene well, having spent decades going back and forth including in company of my late friend saxophonist Billy Robinson that gave me opportunities to talk to lots of musicians and also commuted there weekly for a couple years a decade ago. Thus, I know for a long time that there are hundreds of outstanding musicians down there who are kept in the dark thanks to major labels marketing strategies that makes them concentrate on a small set of musicians. Drummer and composer Brian Blade somewhat fits into this category despite the fact that he is one of the most in demand drummers, performing with Kenny Garret, Wayne Shorter, Joshua Redman, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea on the Jazz side but also with Bob Dylan on the pop music side. The performance at St-Emilion was intense and thanks to the continuous thirst for people like Archie Shepp from the French public, all elements of commercialism were happily left aside which is unfortunately not the case for marketing managers-oriented CD productions. They played what they wanted to play, blending in the lyrical with the hardest Post-Bop and Post-Free they could. Blade is also a composer but composer is in my opinion not the right word for Brian Blade. He is a musical architect that gives his works elaborate constructions with symphonic overtones and concentrates on suites of musical entities and the way to nest them. On the performing side itself, Blade doesn’t confine himself to a rhythm section role. Instead he follows his musicians wherever they go as an extension to their melodic lines, sometimes even anticipating their moves. This may explain why he is in such demand as a sideman. Tonight, Peter Hum will be in the CKCU studio to share our emotions about this memorable evening of Jazz in St-Emilion.
cafe français
Giovanni Mirabassi - architectures - minium
cotton tail
Dee Dee Bridgewater - TBD - TBD
season of changes
Brian Blade - season of changes - verve
alpha and the omega
Brian Blade - season of changes - verve
crooked creek
Brian Blade - season of changes - blue note