Still buzzing from last night's gig, I set to wander around town again, but the weather is not collaborating. I end up hopping on one of the many harbour cruises that are popular with tourists here. It turned out to be a quite relaxing and enjoyable experience, as the view of the old city from the water was quite stunning. The boat followed a path that went through a small canal, offering an audio historical account of the monarchy (going into great details about the relatively recent marriage of Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel, who was her personal trainer. Story goes that she fell and love and managed to get her father, the authoritarian King Carl XVI Gustav, 64, who was dead set against their relationship, to agree for her to marry). The the right of the canal is the famous Djugården, former hunting grounds of the royal family, transformed into a nature park, home of many museums, amusement park, and the Skansen outdoor museum (where you can see live moose!).
I headed out to Enskede, sort of a suburb of the city, to perform with Mattias (on Arp synth and a crazy sounding clavichord) and extraordinary tuba player Per Åke Holmlander, at Scen Sångbolaget. I played a solo set, followed by a keyboard and tuba duo, a solo by Mattias, and a trio set. Great audience, who listened to the music while treated to nice free snacks and drinks on candle-light tables.
I met Per Åke for the first time in Vancouver during the infamous Ice Hockey Canada vs Sweden event in 2009. Let's digress to underline the significance of that event; to quote Ken Pickering, the artistic director of the Vancouver International Jazz Festival; "Canada and Sweden share a mutual longstanding passion for improvised music and hockey. Not surprisingly, each country has produced some of the most gifted artists/athletes in both respective pursuits. Yet it’s unusual to witness the intriguing link between sport and musical expression, particularly in the way both athletes and musicians use improvisation when they perform. This provocative international collaboration heightens perspective on the fascinating connection between the two."
For Ice Hockey: Canada vs. Sweden, Coastal Jazz had commissioned me and composer/saxophonist/improviser Mats Gustafsson (Sweden) to compose pieces based on the systems and culture of ice hockey for fourteen musicians (6 per team plus two referees). The compositions were realized in a workshop setting for 5 days in February culminating in a full-scale performance (exhibition game) at The Ironworks. The world premiere performance (championship game) took place at the TD Canada Trust Vancouver International Jazz Festival in June 2009.
The teams were composed of:
François Houle clarinet (right wing, captain)
Torsten Müller bass (defense)
Jesse Zubot violin/electronics (centre)
John Korsrud trumpet (left wing)
Tony Wilson guitar (defense)
Dylan van der Schyff drums (goalie)
SWEDEN – TRE KRONOR
Mats Gustafsson sax/electronics (left wing, captain)
Per-Åke Holmlander tuba (defense)
Magnus Broo trumpet (right wing)
Christian Munthe guitars (centre)
Kjell Nordeson vibes (defense)
Raymond Strid drums (goalie)
Jakob Riis laptop/electronics (Denmark)
Wayne Horvitz keyboards/electronics (USA)
In his festival blog, Pickering called this project "...one of the most fun events we’ve ever been involved with." Thanks to his vision, and all the hard work Rainbow Robert put in fundraising and talking up the event, it set a huge precedent in building bridges between the Canadian and Swedish music scenes, this present tour owing greatly to this legacy.
In his introduction last night, Per Åke drew a chuckle from the audience as he described the circumstances of our first meeting, without failing to state that Team Sweden won on a table hockey overtime shootout. Mats Gustafsson had brought a vintage hockey table, prepared with piezo microphones by Jacob Riis to process the sounds live, including the infamous victory goal by Mats, which rivals only with Peter Forsberg's Lillehammer Winter Olympics gold medal goal against none other than Team Canada, which is immortalized on a postal stamp in his country.