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Vision Festival 2015

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The temperature was fine, and there were folding chairs, so it was comfortable enough. I can't speak much to the sound of the room because I heard a solo piano set, but someone who was there for most of the evening told me the room sound was not good.  The room is beautiful from an architectural/historical perspective, but it's basically a high-ceiling box with nothing to absorb sound other than a few balloons, if that's indeed why they're there.  

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So far I have not been pleased with the venue/sound or most of the music.

Can you elaborate?

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So far I have not been pleased with the venue/sound or most of the music.

my guess is the drums are lost to the height of the room.

any air conditioning?

seats?

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I can hear the audience crinkling Snickers bar wrappers better than I can hear and/or separate the music from the middle of the room.

I thought Nathaniel Mackey's reading was the best thing so far, though his verbiage was lost to a poor/indistinct miking situation.

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I can hear the audience crinkling Snickers bar wrappers better than I can hear and/or separate the music from the middle of the room.

I thought Nathaniel Mackey's reading was the best thing so far, though his verbiage was lost to a poor/indistinct miking situation.

as I expected about the sound - no chance I would *hear* the trio with Leandre, Maneri & Cleaver

let alone Malaby's Tubacello - I can only imagine the muted sound of the cello & tuba let alone the drums

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I can hear the audience crinkling Snickers bar wrappers better than I can hear and/or separate the music from the middle of the room.

I thought Nathaniel Mackey's reading was the best thing so far, though his verbiage was lost to a poor/indistinct miking situation.

I've been at Judson Church for Winter Jazzfest the last couple of years.  The acoustics there were not terrible, but not optimal for small jazz ensemble.  I was wondering if any steps were taken to treat the room to improve the acoustics. 

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I came up from DC for Tuesday's line-up. The sound was not great. Washed out and muddled. Despite that, I still enjoyed Roscoe Mitchell's set. I was excited about Saturday's line-up, but unfortunately, won't be making another trip up because of the sound. I don't think there were any attempts to treat the room to improve the acoustics.

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As expected as Clifford noted, what a fucking shame that these great musicians are not placed in a venue that allows their great music to heard in a way that it deserves.

Hopefully we will find out why the festival was unfortunately moved from Roulette to this obviously inferior venue.

I tried to listen to Mary Halvorsen's band at that Vision Fest and gave up

well - are there seats and is it air conditioned?

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yes and yes...............

thanks, Frank

I missed your comments above on the seating and temperature

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Milford's set had some really fine moments and the trio of Craig Taborn, Sean Conly and Gerald Cleaver that Darius Jones had going was superb. But the sound still sucked and by the time the NY HeArt Quartet finished, they were running about 2 hours late and I was tired. I did want to see the last two acts but I wasn't staying until 1 AM.

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I got saddled with a horrible cold on Friday that kept me waylaid through most of the weekend. Rallied to catch the tail end of Sunday - the Hamiet Bluiett Orchestra - and I wasn't into it. The sound was terrible and I was far back in the room. Even if the piece was good - which it might've been - I couldn't tell.

Edited by clifford_thornton

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I'll add that every time I attend a performance situation like this, which leaves me unhappy, I feel a bit like it's my fault - I know in my heart that I love this music dearly, and there's no shortage of ringside cheerleaders, but the experience on the whole is just so flat. This is sometimes to the point of feeling like the kid in "The Emperor's New Clothes." Am I being a cynical dick or does some of this stuff just not hold up?

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I made it down Saturday. I sat in the third row to try to reduce some of the anticipated sound issues. Although not great, for the most part the sound from my seat was listenable. For me, the sound affected the Laubrock set the most. At times it was difficult to distinguish the koto, tuba and piano when everything was happening at once. Musically, most of the sets were solid, if not necessarily memorable. My friend and I both wished the Wadada Leo Smith-Aruan Ortiz duo - which was short at about 35 minutes - had a little more variety in mood, but as it was my first time hearing Smith live I am glad I had the chance to hear him. Malaby played the longest set of the night and it was a good one. Again, although the sound was not ideal, both tuba and cello were audible from my seat. Malaby himself did not really show any flashes of the remarkable abilities that Steve Reynolds is always raveing about, but for the most part he was effective. The Joelle Leandre-Gerald Cleaver-Mat Maneri set may have been the highlight of the day. For one thing they set up on the floor instead of the stage. As a result they were that much closer to the audience - and me in particular. They improvised three pieces - again not a very long set, but the interaction/communication between the three was on a very high level. First time hearing Leandre live and her mastery of the bass had me thinking about adding more of her recorded output to my collection.

I have made it a goal the past few years to get down for at least one day of Vision Festival. As always, I am glad I made the trip even if I did not necesarrily hear anything that was life altering. I enjoy the scene for the day, and as an added bonus I did get a chance to say hello to our own hero Chuck Nessa.

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yeah, it was great to see Chuck and meet John Litweiler!

I've heard Malaby play some excellent stuff and I've also heard him be utterly boring. I wanted to see Smith and Ortiz (don't see the trumpeter often) as well as the Leandre group (never caught her live). Of course I think Laubrock is excellent but I just couldn't imagine her music being suited to the venue, and at least for now she plays often enough in the city that I'm not worried about catching some variation of this group again. Oh well, better to stay in and rest anyway.

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I was told the Parkers wanted this year's festival in the Village because that's where the first Vision festival was held 20 years ago. In general, the smaller the ensemble, the better the sound quality - unfortunately William Parker's big Martin Luther King project went right by me, for example, and each night I could understand few of the words that were spoken from the stage. I've been to 9 Vision festivals in the last 11 years and Roscoe Mitchell's opening-night work was one of the best sets I've ever heard there. There was valuable music I could hear well enough on every night and it was sure good to see old friends there, to meet Clifford, and in general be festive.

But I do hope the festival moves back to Roulette, or at least to that Lower East Side settlement house.

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