12 Points Festival

Guy Salamon Group (ISR/NLD) & No Tongues (FRA)

BIMHUIS, Amsterdam
September 28, 2019
text: Storm Bakker
pics: Françoise Bolechowski

From September 25 till 28, the Amsterdam BIMHUIS was dominated by the thirteenth edition of the bustling European 12 Points festival: 4 days, 12 bands, 12 cities, 1 stage. "The freshest, hottest sounds in jazz and contemporary experimental music." (Irish Times).”12 Points presents promising European acts that distinguish themselves through their courage, energy, boundlessness and talent. During 12 Points you can feel the breadth, energy, diversity and ambition of the jazz musicians of the future!" A beautiful program was compiled, packed with surprising and promising acts, including Kasia Pietrzko Trio (POL), Trio Heinz Herbert (CHE), No Tongues (FRA) and JUNO (NOR), and an extra 'Orange Line' fringe, containing some of the finest artists based in the Netherlands, like Sun-Mi Hong (KOR), Xavi Torres (ESP) and Guy Salomon (ISR). This line-up attracted a nice mixed audience, with a particularly large number of young people striking. ProgJazz reports.

photography © Françoise Bolechowski

Guy Salamon Group

The closure night of the event was opened by Guy Salamon, a celebrated drummer/leader from the Amsterdam Conservatory (where he studied Contemporary Music through Non-Western Techniques and its trimester-long introduction 'Advanced Rhythm' taught at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam by Rafael Reina and David de Marez Oyens), who received the prestigious Keep An Eye Award last year. With his quick and witty announcements, he had the laughers on his hand and he also enjoyed the musical attention of the audience, including many generations and fellow students. His band consists of great players, a couple of whom we have already met through the various Next Generation programs in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and Amersfoort. Young-Woo Lee (piano), Alistair Payne (trumpet) and Lucas Martínez (tenor sax) for instance, are also in the quintet of Young Vip 2019 Sun-Mi Hong, who in turn takes place behind the drums in the band of Danish guitarist Teis Semey, winner of the Princess Christina Jazz Competition, the Keep An Eye Jazz Award and the Leiden Jazz Award. Tonight Salamon played as an octet, without Mexican singer Fuensanta Méndez.

Guy Salamon composes all music, "crossing genres, wildly mixing styles, experimenting and merging musical influences from different corners of the world", sometimes leaning towards vaudeville and musical cabaret, also world fusion and freejazz. For an octet like the Guy Salamon Group, the 50-minute time frame is actually on the tight side. It seemed that the pieces had been shortened and that the soloists were playing against the clock, zapping into their own work for the sake of variety, but without elaborate arches of tension. The virtuosos Martinez, Lee and Semey could therefore not turn out within the timeframe. Such riveted music also requires applied arrangement, and in that area Salamon's group is not as far as, for example, its counterpart Megalodon Collective, the Norwegian septet with two drummers. But we are curious about the upcoming album!

photography © Françoise Bolechowski

No Tongues

No Tongues (FRA) is a quartet with a highly unique line-up: two double basses, trumpet (with effects) and saxophones/bass clarinet. The sound spectrum is occasionally expanded with samples of vocals from all directions of the world. This varies from a plowing farmer controlling his oxen, to the last sjaman in the upper south of Argentina. The quartet follows the voices in an inimitable way, or otherwise processes the samples in their special arrangements, in their project called "Les voies du mond". The lack of percussion is artfully absorbed by the virtuoso and expressive bassists, both named Ronan (Prual and Courty), who both play their instruments in the most important directions, with all kinds of bows, sticks, pegs and instruments, while the trumpet player Alan Regardin surprises with pneumatic machine sounds, circular breathing landscapes and percussive patterns. The reed player Matthieu Prual excels in psychiatric overtones and more so on free jazz, but can also play very nicely subdued and melodic, for instance in the piece "Aamamata - Lamentation funèbre des Îles Salomon". Verily: a unique company, this No Tongues... The quartet is capable of evolving from deep silence, a closed flower bud, small and dry chamber music into a rich orchestral world of sounds, full of rhythmic patterns and harmonic suggestions, large and echoing, deafening, heaven-searing and compelling. Amazing.