On the Festival Trail | Music Feature | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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On the Festival Trail 

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Jazz Mafia co-blogger L.J. Palardy is correct in thinking that I may be familiar with the annual FIMAV, which draws increasingly large crowds each May from all over the world (except Burlington).  The small city of Victoriaville has incongruously become a magnet for proponents of the free jazz movement called musique actuelle, easier heard than explained.  This year's program features well-known US artists Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, Marilyn Crispell, Andrew Cyrille, and Eugene Chadbourne. as well as players from Japan, England, Germany, Holland, and of course all parts of Canada. 

I first attended Victo in 1997, which opened with a performance by saxophonist, composer, and conductor Jean Derome with a 13 piece group of his ebullient tribute to Georges Perec titled Je Me Souviens. (This is available on the Ambiances Magnetiques label, centerpiece of the actuelle movement, of which Derome is a co-founder.)  When Derome wandered into the restaurant at the Hotel Colibri, unofficial festival headquarters, for breakfast the next morning, the entire room greeted him with a standing ovation.  I haven't seen this happen again since, though audience enthusiasm seldom wanes over the festival's five days.

I'm excited at the prospect of hearing Derome on June 5 at Flynnspace with his longtime associate Pierre Tanguay on drums and a relatively new collaborator, Francois Bourassa on piano.  He's a multi-instrumentalist who bridges the gap between straight-ahead jazz and free improvisation. To find out how, check his CDs Musique de Thelonious Monk and Carnets de Voyage or any others with his band, Les Dangereux Zhoms.  Derome is a player with heart who deserves wider recognition here, and meanwhile fans who are willing to roll up to Quebec can easily become better acquainted with his art.

(Warning: if you go to FIMAV and can get a room at the Colibri, be aware that the hotel is well known for its granite matresses and pillows.  See if you can bring your own bedding through customs.)

Another essential June event is New York's Vision Festival, which runs from June 18 through 24 at the visually stunning Angel Orensanz Foundation just below Houston Street. This annual marathon is the creation on a grand scale of Patricia Nicholson Parker and her husband, bassist William Parker and is devoted to the broad field of improvised and, for want of a better word, avant-garde jazz.  Next month's festival is conceived as a tribute to Bill Dixon.  Go down for it.

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