Gent Jazz Festival 2008: Days 5-8
And who is stranger than CocoRosie? The sisterly duo of Sierra and Bianca Casady are obsessed with dressing up: not only themselves, but piling on the dense Baroque imagery that floods their entire stage backdrop. Dark make-up, aprons, Mickey Mouse ears, painted pale clown tears: all seem suitable visual partners to their voices, one permanently squeaking in a naturalistic manner, the other some distant descendant of conventional operatic technique. The third vocalist is Tez, a beatboxer who reminds us that CocoRosie's songs are mostly rooted in the hip hop world, with a heavy infusion of dancehall reggae. That's not all, though. There are many vague spaces made for toy-like chiming and folksy tinkling, acoustic wonderment alternating with rave-like stomping. It's a perfect balance between avant-trickery and singalong populism. Their remarkable show (for it is such) is a completely unique experience, full of humor, extremity and apparent spontaneity.
By comparison, the Japanese Soil and "PIMP" Sessions were more linear in their thought processes. So much so that they tended to shoot off into an extended realm of hyper-bebop, not letting up until they'd attained complete abandon. Everything that this Tokyo sextet plays is reasonably conventional retro-jazz, but performed at about six times its normal speed. They thrash, but still maintain all the detailed accuracy of a much slower composition. Out front is Shacho, who simply describes himself as an agitator, garbed like a caricature of a seedy club-owner. His role is to cajole the audience, attempt some form of singing (sometimes with a megaphone) and tweak the odd electro-effects dial. The virtuoso soloing is left to trumpeter Tabu Zombie and saxophonist Motoharu, who don't let their strutting about the stage interfere with their note-counts. They even have a band-within-the-band, a piano trio with a penchant for hammered repetition. Here's another ensemble with an aspect of cartoon behavior at their core, and perhaps this was tonight's real theme. Serious intent matched by wily humor.
Days 1-4 | Days 5-8
Jos L. Knaepen