Friday, November 12, 2010

Best Trumpeter of the Festival

The above collage is a small homage to the greatest trumpeter in the history of this wonderful instrument. Louis Armstrong, was not only the greatest trumpet player ever, he also loved to assemble collages. My collage features a few of the trumpeters who performed at this years Cervantino.

Jazz at Lincoln Center played on the first Friday night of this years festival. Trumpeters Ryan Kisor, Marcus Printup, Kenny Rampton and of course the great Wynton Marsalis. Not a bad way to start. The Lincoln Center cats split their show with Cubano Paquito D'Rivera and his wonderful small group. In Paquito's group was Argentinian trumpeter Diego Urcola. I had never heard of this cat before and before he had played a note I wondered what it would be like to follow some of the greatest trumpeters. From the first notes of his opening solo I knew that Maestro Urcola was not following the greatest trumpeters, he was 1 of them. Oh, he also kills it on the valve trombone.

The 2nd Friday of Cervantino I received a free ticket from a new trumpet player friend, Marc Osteer. Marc is the newest ex-pat trumpet player in Mexico. He is the new principal trumpet for the UNAM 1 of the many orchestras in D.F. (Mexico City). Marc was playing with a brass quintet that combined with 1 of the best brass quintets in the world, the Meridian Arts Ensemble to perform a concert entitled Resplandores Sonoros. The concert featured music of Gabrieli and a few others. It was nice hearing these compositions played in the beautiful Templo de la Compania. The only complaint about this concert was that I didn't think the audience waited long enough after the completion of each tune before they started clapping. As a brass player I like to hear the sounds completely die before interrupting. 

A trumpet note: It is hard to tell inside of a structure as grand as the Companina who is playing what, but at the conclusion of the last piece I saw trumpet great Jon Nelson look over at my new friend Marc with a wonderful look that could have only meant that Marc had just nailed it. Nice job Marc. And thanks for the ticket.

The next night I heard the Orquesta de Jazz del Concertgebouw big band from Holland. I can't believe that there were 2 big bands at this years festival. In the word's of Tom Matta, "Big Bands are BACK!"  Jelle Schouten, Wim Both, Rini Swinkels, Ruud Breuls and Jan van Duikeren were the trumpeters. The concert was wonderful. More swingin' world class brass.

While all of the trumpeters mentioned above are some of the very best at what they do, there was 1 trumpet player who came to Cervantino and did things I have never heard of or even thought of attempting during my 25 or so years of buzzing into this metal tube. 

Pierre Bastien from France brought over his little creations and showed all that were lucky enough to be in attendance, that just like the title of the show states, Sounds can dance. Pierre is a very creative inventor and like most great inventors he isn't shy about showing anyone his creations. It was very kind of him to open the stage up after the show for all to see.

I'm not a good enough writer to explain well what went on during the show, but I'll try my best to give you some sort of explanation.

Pierre has several tables covered with small devices that he uses to create different sounds. There are many small cameras placed in and around the devices that capture the images of the sounds being made and then the images a projected on a large screen. Once Pierre gets the sounds where he wants them, he picks up his pocket trumpet and improvises along with the sounds. It's not just his improvising that I liked, at different times he played the trumpet through homemade mutes (1 filled with water) and he even played the trumpet with no mouthpiece. This show is a part of Festival MUTEK which is an organisation with some of the coolest cutting edge new music. It was nice to see so many young people at Pierre's show. And it's nice to hear someone doing something completely new and fresh with the trumpet. He totally surprised me and Pierre Bastien gets my award for Best Trumpeter of the Festival. I'm sure he's excited.

Sounds CAN dance.
Cool stuff.
Pocket trumpet and the Water mute.
I will try to get video online. Please email me if you want more information on any of the Cervantino events that I have mentioned.

I think that any thing that calls it's self a "Festival" needs to take a good look at how many events in the "Festival" are free. 1 of the best things about Cervantino is that so many events are free. Which makes it perfect for people to experience the art. I love it when you aren't expecting anything and you just walk right into it. This is the way for all people to experience art. No money needed for tickets, no fancy clothing needed to fit in. Artist create art for all people, not just wealthy people.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Art In The Making

As I walked down the callejon to see what I thought would be my last show of this years Cervantino, I stumbled across a little art in the making. I'm not sure if this is part of Cervantino or not, but I like it. 
This is where Smir was on my way down.
Smir in action.
On my way back up after about 45 min.
What a cool city. Smir and his angel are in the lower left.
This foto and the next 5 are all fotos of the same wall.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Strong Girls

As I edit through my fotos from Cervantino I am reminded of all of the great shows that we enjoyed in Plaza San Fernando. The beautiful Plaza San Fernando is about a 15 minute walk from Casa Verde. The picturesque jardin is surrounded by restaurants and a few retail shops. It is a wonderful place even without the entertainment. During Cervantino, Plaza San Fernando was the setting for 31 separate performances by 10 different acts from around the world. During the 24 days of Cervantino there were 19 days you could have seen something for free in Plaza San Fernando. That's right, I said for FREE.

18 y 19 October in the Plaza San Fernando, Theatre Biscornu from Quebec performed La Risa Muda. A live performance of a silent film is the best way I can describe La Risa Muda. It was a great show. Very entertaining. No dialog needed for the best actors. 

Pearl with the cast of La Risa Muda.

21 y 22 October in Plaza San Fernando, Bourask an extremely talented quartet of dancers, again from Quebec, performed the most interesting modern dance I have seen in some time. I love modern dance and the ladies of Bourask were doing things I had never dreamed of. African with their own seasonings. Their show, Monsieur Bossbottes was a very comic take on the South African mines, where this very strange, very rhythmic style of dance originated from. This show was 1 of my favorites of this years festival.
This is the main "Boss" of the miners. You know a show is
going to be good when this is how it starts.
I love fotos of crowds watching an event. This is exactly how I felt too.
Eyes wide open in amazement and jaw dropped as if to say, "Wow."
Fotos can't do this group justice.

24, 25 y 26 October Les 7 doigts de la main, from yep, you guessed it Quebec, wowed the packed jardin in San Fernando. The Circo de Mujeres featured 5 very impressive "women". Michelle thought that this, their "street" show was even better than their longer show that we saw in the big state auditorium. I thought both were amazing. 
It always starts with Eve y la manzana.
This foto and the next 3 were taken be my lovely assistant, Michelle.
Yes, he catches her after she flips.
Muy impresivo!
Another Michelle foto. She was, just as I am impressed
 to see a new mother return to work so fast.
The guy on the left was the "Mujer Misteriosa".

31 October y 1 November Princesse Patate entertained the San Fernando crowd with El Gran Circo Minusculo. How about I just tell you when an act isn't from Quebec. A very fun show for kids. I told the girls after the show, "Those girls actually get paid to play with dolls." Not a bad gig.

2 y 3 November, the last show we caught in San Fernando was El Mundo de los Payasos performed by Alexio and Marie-Bulle from, do I even have to say anything. Look at their names. Maybe they should re-name Plaza San Fernando, Plaza San Quebecando. I don't need to say much about this show. I think you all know how I feel about clowns.
Had to have at least 1 foto of a guy. 

As the father of 2 girls, I always seek out any performance of any type that features strong girls. I'm not talking about physical strength, although you see plenty of that in the above fotos. The "girls" we witnessed this year did not disappoint. Strong, smart, beautiful, graceful, creative, inspiring, just like all the girls in my life. You go girls! 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Perform Tricks, Spinning Around, 60 ft. Above the Ground

Transe Express from France.
The performers on the outside are playing percussion,
while the acrobats in the middle perform tricks,
 spinning around, 60 ft. above the ground.
This is Cervantino.

Today brings to a close this years Festival Internacional Cervantino. This years festival was almost a month long. They added days for Mexico's biccentanario. Just like every Cervantino I have experienced, this years edition has surprised, transported and inspired me (not to mention my girls).

Too many displays of different art forms from around the world. While it is impossible to see everything, I always do my best to attend as many events as I can.

I will try to give you a small glimpse into what Cervantino is about to me.

1 of the big banners welcoming all,
in front of a few of Guanajuatos many tunnels. 
 Nice to see trumpeter Wynton Marsalis on the big banner. This years festival was full of trumpet artists from around the globe. Stay tuned for my list of trumpet highlights. You may be surprised to see who makes the top of my list.
The view from behind the band at Plaza San Roque.
If you look closely you may be able to find my girls.
The view from the other side of San Roque.
One of the surprising venues was the performance of Opera en el Marcado. What a great idea. It was wonderful to watch as the beautiful music engulfed everyone who was in, or around the market. I loved getting fotos of the workers as they were transported. Ahh, the power of music.
The power of music.
Opera in the Mercado.
This guy looks like he could be a part of the cast.
Soup and song.
These ladies are the workers at the resturaunt
 in the above foto (Soup and song).

Another surprising venue, I guess you can call it a venue, was about 60 feet above the ground in the Pastitos.

The show Transe Express from France uses heavy construction equipment to raise the performers high above the auddience in a life sized human mobile. It was very cool.

I have some good video that I will do my best to post (I always have problems uploading video). I would love to give you guys some of the sounds that go with the sights.

Stay tunned for more of my highlights of Cervantino.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dia de los Muertos (Art on the Ground)

Here are the fotos I took of the art on the ground. It was cool for my girls and I to watch as these temporary works of art were created.
Gummy bears.

Not sure what this is, but it's cool.
Dos Catrinas in front of the Basilica.