Friday, June 26, 2015

Montreal Jazz Festival: NettWork

This year, I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to go back to the Montreal Jazz Festival as a journalist. This festival really encapsulates what I love about jazz music from the sheer joy seen in the diversity of people. I wanted to share my experiences from my time, not just because I am a journalist or a musician, but because at the end of the day I just love jazz

Read about my adventures at the 2014 Montreal Jazz FestivalDay 1Day 2Day 3Review of Bobby McFerrin.

Montreal Jazz Festival: NettWork

I had the amazing opportunity to attend the "NettWork Trio" concert featuring Charnett Moffett, Stanley Jordan, and Jeff Tain Watts. This powerhouse trio combined different musical rhythms, harmonies, and effects to create a 'network' of sounds. Each member of the trio could stand alone as a leader much like the "Bad Plus" - but the net worth of the team was greater than the sum of its parts. 

NettWork Trio: Stanley Jordan, Charnett Moffett & Jeff Tain Watts (L to R)

Much of the music from NettWork had a Middle Eastern and Egyptian tinge to it. The use of repeated bass ostinatos and modal scales solidified this sound. Yet, even with this ethnic flavor to the music, an element of funk dominated the performance from electric bass lines and solos, to bending lines on the guitar, to steady time and high energy crashes on the drums. I truly have never heard music like this before! It was free and improvised, while always having this element of movement and dance. 

Watch the NettWork Trio:

Some of the songs had short cutouts in the middle where Moffett started reciting a sort of spoken word poetry: "Life is a field frozen with snow." The use of these hypnotic, philosophical statements propelled the music forward by giving added meaning behind the notes. In addition, the camaraderie and joy underlying the music only strengthened the performance by adding the pertinent element of communication. 

My sketch of Charnett Moffett

The standout of the show was a song called "O C 2" dedicated to Ornette Coleman, who recently passed away. Ornette was a pioneer of free jazz, with such albums as "The Shape of Jazz to Come". "O C 2" borrowed Ornette's message more than his distinctive sound. Moffett created a call and response by saying, "love for the people" while the audience would say, "for the people." This call and response not only strengthened audience participation and focus, but it also properly laid out Ornette Coleman's main message of love and acceptance. When the set was done the audience erupted in shouts for an "encore for the people!"

Listen to "Lonely Woman" by Ornette Coleman:

Final Thoughts: 
The message of the NettWork concert was love and acceptance "for the people, for the children." And what better place to spread this message than the International Jazz Festival of Montreal!

The streets of Montreal are filled with New Orleans street bands, scatting "doo bop ba," and smiling faces. This city never ceases to amaze me! More detailed reviews of concerts and experiences are forthcoming.

My sketch of Jeff Tain Watts

This experience inspired my poem, "Network" on my jazz poetry blog, "Without a Poem". 

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Throughout this entire experience I want to hear why do you love jazz? Comment down below.

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