Sunday, 6 February 2011

When Jazz gets too loud!

"Uri Caine's Gustav Mahler - Primal Light is a modern masterpiece," went the blurb from on the flyer for the concert "Uri Caine meets Mahler", at the Town Hall, Brum, 5th Feb.
Indeed, the first half - including this reworking of themes from Mahler's 5th Symphony - was intriguing, impressive, energetic. Plenty of enjoyable Jewish-folk-tune flourishes, and not too many bursts of 'jazz noise' and odd sound-effects from the turntablist accompanying the band (bass, trumpet/clarinet, drums (and then some), violinist, pianist (Uri Caine himself)).
The second half: well, I wish I'd have left by then. Where in the first half, drums and sound-effects were kept within reason to keep the band together and add some (albeit odd) extra colour, after the interval they dominated, driving the instrumentals to the margins and drawing the trumpeter to painful, screeching solos more like the sound of fingernails scraping on metal - amplified beyond the bearable - than anything offering aural pleasure.
If you want to catch this ensemble, take your ear-plugs. Or just leave at the interval.

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