Wednesday, September 26, 2012
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FESTIVAL OF NEW TRUMPET MUSIC
Before a concert presented by the Festival of New Trumpet Music on Friday night, conversation outside the University Settlement on the Lower East Side turned to prodigiously gifted players who had died painfully young, promise unfulfilled: chiefly, Clifford Brown and Booker Little. Since founding the festival in 2003, the trumpeter Dave Douglas has fixed attention on artists who have continued to move the instrument and its repertory forward: veterans like Bill Dixon and Wadada Leo Smith; upstarts including Greg Kelley and Amir ElSaffar.
Nate Wooley, a trumpeter who merits a spot on any list of instrumental mavericks, has figured in several festival seasons. Here, as part of the festival’s 10th anniversary, he unveiled the latest iteration of “The Seven Storey Mountain,” a continuing project in which he mixes radical playing techniques, amplification, recorded sounds and varying accompaniment to evoke notions of pilgrimage and ecstasy.
Starting alone, Mr. Wooley rasped, pattered and quietly sang through a trumpet with no mouthpiece, over pealing electronic tones. Tilt Brass, an ensemble that upholds a new-music tradition of radical politics, joined him with somber staggered chords, by turns churchy and regal. Building ineffably toward a howling peak, the piece conveyed potent sensations of questing trajectory and philosophical intensity.
Tilt opened with Dave Ballou’s “for three trumpeters,” in which simple, stately lines fused to render rich, pulsating overtones. To conclude, Tilt enlisted three saxophonists and the superb pianist Stephen Gosling for “De Volharding” (“Perseverance”), a 1972 post-Minimalist magnum opus by Louis Andriessen, given an exhilarating account in what was billed as its New York premiere. STEVE SMITH
A version of this review appeared in print on September 26, 2012, on page C2 of the New York edition with the headline: KIMIKO ISHIZAKA.
Additional reporting about this performance by Smith on his blog Night After Night