Festival International de Jazz de Montreal 2005, Day 6, July 5, 2005
Senior Editor since 2004With the realization that there will always be more music coming at him than he can keep up with, John wonders why anyone would think that jazz is dead or dying.
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Colleyalways a broadly-reaching yet totally supportive playerdemonstrated a muscular tone, sense of melody and incredibly keen ear. Those are just a few reasons he's so in-demand by a diversity of artists including guitarist Jim Hall, saxophonist Chris Potter, and singer Carmen McRae. Sanchez, on a much smaller kit than he used with the Pat Metheny Group, played with the kind of open mind and lateral thinking that explains why Metheny has been so vocal about the excitement he's felt since teaming up with him four years ago. His solo on "Question and Answer" was so deeply melodic that one never lost sight of the song's form, even as he took it to new polyrhythmic levels. Whether or not he's a better player than some of the illustrious drummers Metheny has worked with is not the issue; it's the chemistry between them that clearly pushes Metheny to some of his most inspired playing ever. And the fact that he's on virtually all of Metheny's By Invitation concerts that utilize a drummerwith the exception of the show with Dewey Redman later this weekspeaks volumes about the empathic bond and musical trust they share.
Metheny traveled to Montreal from France only two days earlier, and he spent literally ten hours of rehearsal the day of his first Montreal performance. At one point in the nearly two-and-a-half hour show, he said to the audience, "You don't mind if we keep this loose, do ya? 'Cause it's gonna be." For some artists loose might imply not together, but Metheny, Colley, and Sanchez felt completely connected. Metheny has had many great trios since he first released Bright Size Life in '76, but he's never had one with such a vivid imagination and unfettered sense of invention, combined with the realized potential for delicately nuanced subtlety and sheer power.
Meanwhile, despite a torrential downpour that literally closed the underground walkway between the festival hotel (the Hyatt Regency) and Place des Arts earlier in the evening, St. Catherine Street was jammed with people for a techno-jazz performance by Champion et ses G-Strings at the large GM Stage where Pat Metheny Group will be performing on July 10. A multimedia affair with video screens, bursts of fireworks, and relentlessly pulsing rhythms, it fell at another end of the spectrum from Metheny's show, but demonstrated why FIJM is a festival like no other, with a positive energy that's infectious and almost otherworldly.
Continue: Day 7