Gilad Atzmon in Valencia – And the Bush Burned

21 Nov 2008 03:29

[WRITTEN BY Manuel TALENS, Translated by Mary Rizzo]

atzmon.jpgLast night, in the auditorium of the Polytechnic University of Valencia, the saxophone player Gilad Atzmon and his group The Orient House Ensemble performed in the November 2008 Jazz Festival.

Atzmon, an author that is frequently published in Rebelión and Tlaxcala, where he tirelessly defends the cause of the Palestinian people, victims of racism and Zionist occupation, did not disappoint in his role of virtuoso musician and committed artist. The concert, an hour and a half of intense musical emotions, was based on four themes taken from two important albums of the group, MusiK (2004) and Refuge (2007), in which Atzmon articulated and developed a line of reasoning and discourse that is explicitly dedicated to describing through chromatic scales the current Iraqi tragedy undertaken by the hands of the Empire. Among these four themes, which I will comment on in a moment, the band performed another half dozen pieces from their repertory, were they emerged in all their rage and glory Atzmon himself, the pianist Frank Harrison and the drummer Asaf Sirkis, accompanied by the solid mastery of the bassist Yaron Stavi.

The concert began in a relaxed manner with the rhythms of “Autumn in Baghdad”, in which the soprano saxophone converses limpidly with the piano, creating an atmosphere resounding in peace and tranquillity, which could bring to mind a pre-war Iraq. In “Spring in New York”, charged with greater rhythm, from its Ellington-style suggestions to its manic phrasings, the dialogue changes its instruments and the alto sax and electronic keyboards take over. After these two themes, once the main characters have been presented, the band launched off with the marvellous and disquieting “Burning Bush”, in which the musician, a former Israeli, unleashed a virtuosity without limits, even tearing the mouthpiece off of his soprano sax to generate guttural sounds from the instrument. He judged, condemned and metaphorically executed the genocidal president of that Burning Bush in which the title of the composition alludes. In the meantime the audience that filled the hall was already totally enthralled by the music.

Atzmon however wanted to make it clear that he has nothing against the Usamerican people, who he considers victims of the disinformation of the elite in power who hold them mentally as prisoners, and has thus closed the circle of his musical discourse with a theme from MusiK, “Liberating the American People”.

Atzmon is a musician who is capable of giving completely of himself, and every concert leaves him in a state of exhaustion. Last night it was evident. But the public wanted more, and when the four members of the band finished their performance, the lengthy standing ovation of the audience compelled them back on stage, where they offered a splendid goodbye with an homage to jazz and hope with a distinctive version of “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong, who Atzmon playfully defines as “that great Palestinian musician”.

Originale: Rebelión e Tlaxcala

Manuel Talens and Mary Rizzo are members of Tlaxcala, network of translators for linguistic diversity. This article may be reprinted, as long as the author, translator, revisor and source are mentioned.

URL of this article on Tlaxcala: in Italian

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