In the past, I've lamented the lack of quality improvised music during South by Southwest (SXSW), which takes place every middle of March in Austin and is probably the States' largest and lengthiest showcase for modern popular music. Sure, one can catch certain "cutting edge" rock, punk and indie bands ad infinitum, but jazz and related musics are routinely left out of this one-stop-Hypermart of indie rock, film and technology. 2011 is a little different - on Thursday at the Hideout (617 Congress Ave.) we can look forward to Norwegian bassist and Austin resident Ingebrigt Håker Flaten's new band, The Young Mothers (with Frank Rosaly, Stefan Gonzalez, Stian Westerhus, Jawwaad Taylor and Jason Jackson), which brings together Norwegian, Texan, and Chicagoan strains for a truly unique experience.
Last night I was able to check out recent Austin transplant Gaute Solaas' project Serpentine (Gaute also hails from Norway) in its American incarnation at Central Presbyterian Church. The band present for last night's performance was different from those in the video below, but you can get an idea of the vibe present throughout. Try to imagine three interweaving tenor saxophones and their attendant colors and sonic shapes filling up a large church - the only apt response seemed to be leaning back and closing one's eyes. I can only imagine what Albert Ayler and Ornette Coleman sounded like filling up St. Peter's in New York in 1967 for Trane's funeral. Gaute also has a local ensemble with guitarist Jonathan Horne and drummer Matt Armistead called Southwestern Free, who are totally worth checking out and I sincerely hope that they record. Their version of Keith Jarrett's "The Cure" (also done by Serpentine) is an absolute killer in a sort of tweaked Garbarek-Rypdal vibe. Hopefully this music won't continue to fall through the cracks during SXSW, for it is indeed strong potion.