14th October at 21:00, Studio 6 Radio Beograda
Concert: Kaja Draksler / Susana Santos Silva (Slovenia / Portugal)
Kaja Draksler – piano
Jazz has gone a long way from pub music in the New Orleans slum honkytonks to the revolutionary turn boiled in the smoky clubs of the Bog Apple, commercial ups and downs while vying with pop-rock culture, up to the postmodern revitalization in which clear classification of genre is more of a burden than an affirmative designation of merit. The former music of Afro-American males today seeps out of all meridians, while women are no longer recognized mostly as singers, now reigning supreme over what used to be “male” instrumental disciplines. In such a jazz world, it is perfectly natural and refreshing when two women, a pianist from Slovenia residing in Amsterdam and a horn player from Portugal, meet and play music along the long-loosened boundaries of jazz.
Kaja Draksler has not waited long to make it to the very top of European avant-garde. She has been particularly successful in the past three or four years, during which she recorded a string of brilliant albums, both as a soloist and in duo formations. Raised on the aesthetics of the great Cecile Taylor, she is known for her unhinged pianist technique, both in terms of her harsh treatment of keys in the vein of Thelonious Monk, or exploiting the inside of a prepared piano. On the other hand, Susana Santos Silva is a master of “total” horn playing, equally energetic and subtle, brilliant in drawing the whole sonic potential out of this attractive instrument.
Even though both musicians have already had significant collaborations with legends of the genre (Kaja with Hamid Drake and Ned Rothenberg, Susana Santos Silva in the famous Fire!Orchestra of Mats Gustafsson), they are primarily focused on their own projects, displaying creativity not only as players, but also as composers and arrangers. It was only a question of time when their creative paths would cross. This happened a couple of years ago and they have been performing together ever since. The collaboration was crowned last year with the album “This Love”, released by Europe’s most significant label for avant-garde jazz, Clean Feed Records based in Portugal. Deleting all features of genre, barely holding on to the wide notion of “jazz avant-garde”, the two supertalented musicians are unrestrained in their explorations of possibilities of interaction between two instruments. They toy with creative ideas and playing techniques, in praise of imagination and freedom as a spiritus movens of this art of the new millennium.