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Andrew Cyrille played the 2019 Vision Festival kickoff (pics, video)

The most demonstrative note that Andrew Cyrille played on Tuesday night — a resounding thwack on the snare — was also the last. The drummer, a key presence across the full spectrum of jazz since the early 1960s, was wrapping up more than four hours of largely improvised exploration on the opening night of New York City’s annual Vision Festival. For the concluding set, Cyrille duetted with Peter Brötzmann, a German saxophonist known for his sandpaper tone and raucous flow. Brötzmann opened the set with blaring doom-blues blasts, and instead of attempting to match his partner’s fury, Cyrille offered a steady flow of controlled energy, playing crisp rolls and compact phrases across his snare and tom-toms…

…The concert’s diverse sets — as Vision Fest Artistic Director Patricia Nicholson noted, all curated by Cyrille himself — flowed together beautifully, and a brief moment of archival commentary helped to sum up their collective impact. During a set break, some projected text appeared on the screen behind the stage. It was a quote from the late Cecil Taylor, who worked with Cyrille for a solid decade in the Sixties and Seventies, reunited with him later in life and probably knew as well as anyone what it felt like to step onstage with a drummer of such focus and sensitivity. [Rolling Stone]

The 2019 Vision Festival kicked off on Tuesday (6/11) with a tribute to and performance by drummer and avant garde jazz great Andrew Cyrille who is this year’s Vision Lifetime Achievement honoree. Over the course of four hours, the 79-year-old drummer played eight different sets, as part of duos and trios, including fellow drummer Milford Graves; saxophonist Kidd Jordan; guitarist Alix Pascal, Haitian Drum player Jean Guy-Rene and poet Quincy Troupe; cellist Tomeka Reid and dancer Beatrice Capote; video artist Stefan Roloff; trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and guitarist Brandon Ross; singer/pianist Lisa Sokolov, and saxophonist Peter Brötzmann. Pictures from the evening are in the gallery above.

The Vision Festival continues this weekend with performances by Marty Ehrlich Trio, Matthew Shipp & William Parker, the Darius Jones Quintet, the James Brandon Lewis Unruly Quintet, the Jason Kao Hwang Human Rites Trio and more. Head here for the full schedule and more info, and video of Cyrille and Graves set is below.

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photos by Greg Cristman

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