Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Michael Janisch & Aruan Ortiz - Whirlwind Maestros

Michael Janisch - Bass
It was the final throws of a heavy few days but every hour had been worth my undivided attention. Not every Whirlwind Festival gig had been sketched but still 13 in three days is worthy of a little fanfare. Its incomprehensible what organiser and record boss Michael Janisch must have endured but if you gamble big then I suppose the rewards are significant. This was the end and the beginning. The Saturday night 10pm (12/10/2013) slot brought it to a close while audiences and musicians alike left King's Place dreaming of what to expect in 2014.

Aruan Oritz - Piano
There was a serious no talking, no shit attitude to the last curtain finale. Seriously no anecdotes, very unlike a normal jazz concert. I believe there wasn't even one reference to a CD being on sale, which as you might know is de rigueur for journeymen and bright jazz sparks alike.

Greg Osby - Saxophone
Here there was an energy between the players as if they were held together by Nature's bond. Not too close though, mutual respect helped keep a healthy distance but you could feel the invisible force. Co-leader, Aruan Oritz  of course could survey from his poop deck, ducking the right shoulder when the storm wave from the quintet hit his piano.

Mark Ayza - Drums
Greg Osby by comparison barely flinched in the face of the night's peak and troughs. Gabardined in a tight Burberry and matching trilby he rivalled a stylish Shaft in style and power. Sparse doesn't do his performance justice but there was a streamlined directness and penetration that achieved its goal with the minimum of fuss.

Raynald Colom - Trumpet
Insert a section that describes the texture of the tunes and their themes it says on the label before me. That rule book went out the window when I started this Whirlwind odyssey, and this last gig was one that just washed over this storm battered man. Now two and half weeks later my gig notes are surprisingly absent but I remember the entertaining figure of Mark Ayza. He is becoming one of my favourites to draw. Never a muppet on drums but it seems one in my sketches. If his hair was a shock of orange then he would have unmistakably transformed into Beaker, the shy laboratory assistant.

Stephen Jay - Photographer
It was a night of hats and Raynald Colom's had an air of Shemp Howard with its comic air. These lips were not made for smiling though and Colom took his shift as the figurehead of this fighting ship frequently. A mature and inspiring set that propelled Colom to the fore early on with "Precisely Now", followed by "Please Stand By" and Osby with his directness.

Dan Redding
As if in harmony with the third tune "Orbiting" I quickly took a final sweep around the auditorium as I perched in its upper tier. Amongst the off-duty musicians there was Stephen Jay, Dan Redding and Steve Pringle, still photographing and filming. I imagine their films are still uncurling in editing suites throughout south London, slowly being sifted and honed.

This isn't a festival that talks solely of promise, it is ready for consumption now! Virtually all the musicians were at the top of their games, in the prime of their young lives and full of ideas for the year to come. Yes the future is significant, with a 12 month gestation period before us it is going to be some 2014 for the Whirlwind Record label and its flagship Festival.

Viva "The Maestro", their final tune.

AL.




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