Jazztopad Festival 2018: A Review

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Tuesday December 11, 2018

From Jazzword

By: Ken Waxman

Inclusion is what makes Jazztopad, the annual festival in WrocÅ’aw, Poland, so notable. While visitors see a cross-section of international players on stage at the modernist, glass-clad Witold LutosÅ’awski National Forum of Music (NFM) each night, they’re also welcome at the nightly jam sessions in the funky basement Mleczarnia Club around the corner. On weekend afternoons they can participate in house concerts in selected locations around WrocÅ’aw, where accomplished locals trade musical ideas with visiting players, including some featured at NFM concerts.

[…] Another trumpeter, Israeli Avishai Cohen, whose septet Bigger Vicious played on the same stage two nights later, was even more rock-oriented with two drummers, two guitarists, a piano/keyboardist and a bassist/electric bassist backing. Using a foot-controlled effects pedal to keep up with the churning beat that seemed more Motown than Mosaic, Cohen’s spacey interludes, usually seconded by Yonathan Avishai’s skillful acoustic piano chiming, established the set’s melodic balance, with his brass extensions sometimes taking on bullfight music-like references. However, when either guitarist Yonatan Albalak or Uzi Ramirez stretched out with agitated timbral distortion, the swerve towards thickened rock-like sounds overpowered other musical currents.

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