Friday, June 02, 2006

31/05/2006, Brussels

Ialma @ Molière
Ialma is the five singers above (yes, they still have the bizarre one-hairstyle-fits-all thing going on) plus an array of instrumentalists. The basic aim is to take traditional Galician songs and place them in a less localised musical context: musicians included pan-world/folk players guitarist Pascal Chardome and accordeonist Didier Laloy (who play in S-Tres, an enjoyable pan-world/folk trio) and bassist Vincent Noiret (who plays in Tricycle, an enjoyable world/jazz trio, which I've discussed previously), Mexican percussionist Osvaldo Hernandez (heard advantageously in the Apikón Dia trio) and a gigantic African kora player. There were lots of guests, and every single one highlighted the stylistic distance between Ialma and Galicia. None more so than the old Galician lady who duetted, a capella, with the quintet's lead singer: the former's voice was rough-hewn, strident and physical, the latter's, far smoother and more conciliant. The old lady was one of four brought out to sing an inappropriately jubilant version of "Under The Bridge" in gallego.

It was by far the biggest (it was completely packed, maybe because the concert was free for members?) and most enthusiastic (fan club plants?) crowd I've seen at the Molière. I found it reasonably enjoyable, but, then again, I didn't have to pay.

Walrus @ Jazz Station
Steve Smith-style, we then dashed across town (well, not really, but it sounds cooler than "we leisurely drove a few streets down") to the Jazz Station to see Toine Thys's Walrus. It was my first visit to the relatively new Jazz Station and I was impressed by its cool, modern interior decoration, which bears no traces of the building's past as a train station, apart from the train tracks that you can see from the overpass leading to the toilets.

Walrus is made up of be.jazz regulars Nicolas Kummert on tenor and Lionel Beuvens on drums, with Axel Gilain on bass. I saw a similar Thys-Kummert quartet (can't remember if Beuvens and Gilain were in that one) a few months ago, but it was called Moblift back then. Last night, during the 40 minutes we caught, they played excellent loose cool jazz. Toine has a scrappy style and tends to get better as his solos go on. Nicolas continued to impress: his solo on the first song of the second set consisted almost solely of the bluesy, "Stolen Moments"-like phrase Toine had ended his solo with, seductively rephrased, toyed with and expanded upon (but not too much) over and over.

With no amplification save the bass amp, both the venue and the band provided optimal listening conditions. I'll be sure to return to the Jazz Station soon.