angrajazz 2017 [day 4] -  terceira island, azores, portugal, oct 7

  • photography by © Clara Pereira / text by Filipe Freitas


The last day opened with the Cuban singer/violinist Yilian Cañizares, whose quintet features Daniel Stawinski on piano, David Brito on contrabass, Inor Sotolongo on percussion, and Cyril Regamey on drums and percussion.
The positive energy, noble socio-political intentions, and musical generosity of the bandleader were totally recognized, yet the music, inhabiting a more accessible corner of the jazz spectrum, didn’t have a significant impact on me.
Mostly drawing from her 2014 album, Invocación, and embracing a somewhat saccharine, mellow tone, Ms. Cañizares warmed the public with “Cancion de Cuña Para Dormir a un Negrito”, a tune based on the known poem by Cuban Luis Carbonell, “Donde Hay Amor”, a love song dedicated to her late grandfather, “Iya Mi”, a faded Latin pop exercise sung in Yoruba, and “Mapucha”, an anti-sexism tune featuring a zealous percussion juncture.
Despite the talented musicians, I noticed a lack of peak moments and emotional crescendos throughout the performance, a fact that didn’t hamper a myriad of enthusiasts from cheering vehemently.


Closing the festival in a memorable way, the Jon Irabagon Quartet delighted the ones searching for strong emotions with tunes from the albums Behind the Sky and the upcoming Dr. Quixotic’s Traveling Exotics (due out early next year), as well as a couple of takes on American jazz classics.
Backed by consolidated artists such as pianist Luis Perdomo, bassist Yasushi Nakamura, and drummer Rudy Royston, Irabagon plunged into different jazz currents with the usual expansive posture and that incredible kicking sound that once was part of Chicago, and now often colors the New York jazz venues.
They kicked in with “One Wish”, a melodious combination of soulful post-bop artistry and pop balladry that naturally evolved into swinging motion during the section reserved for improvisation.
On “Sprites”, after the staggering and occasionally polyphonic sax intro, we found the musicians responding to one another until Irabagon’s romping solo has been placed over the half-step minor chord changes of “Impressions”. Following the extrovert spontaneity of the bandleader, Royston explored drum sounds with unrestrained inspiration.
A brand new jazz funk piece entitled “Emotional Physics” brought an effervescent “All The Things You Are” attached on its wings, while the ballad “Music Box Song” cooled down the room with its softer rhythmic constitution, but offered up, in turn, a fantastic bass solo filled with expressive slides and constructive plucks. 
The quartet closed the 19th AngraJazz with “The Cost of Modern Living”, a dancing piece where the soul-jazz of Eddie Harris meets the Latin impulses of Joe Henderson. It was noticeable how Nakamura and Royston were having fun, especially after doubling the tempo to accommodate Perdomo’s solo. From behind the drum kit, Royston engendered another colossal intervention for a majestic finale. 
Everyone seemed euphoric and touched by the quartet’s modernistic charms.

Being my first time attending the festival, I was well impressed with the fantastic organization, the quality of the selected lineup, and the attentiveness of an enthusiastic audience that encompassed people of all ages.