35th Vilnius Jazz Festival. 13-16 October, 2022

DarkBlueWorld feat. Tony Wilson

DarkBlueWorld feat. Tony Wilson (Canada):

Elizabeth Fischer - voc
Tony Wilson - g
Cole Schmidt - g
James Meger - bg
Barry Taylor - dr

“Imagine an unholy union of Nina Hagen and Jim Morrison channelling Bertolt Brecht and Rimbaud with a band made up of members of The Doors, The Velvet Underground and Pink Floyd and you’ll have some idea of DarkBlueWorld’s mesmerizing, hallucinatory sound”, Canada’s Jazz Magazine Coda described this Vancouver based group.

For their inspiration the musicians give credit to Bob Dylan, Diamanda Galás, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, King Crimson, Astor Piazzolla, Nirvana, Hank Williams and many other ‘strangers and sociopaths’.

Elizabeth Fischer, a Hungarian-born singer, writer, songwriter and artist, formed DarkBlueWorld in 2003. The singer admits that she does not care what musical styles her stage partners favour. The most important for her is that they be creative musicians. The texts written and sung by the leader constitute the kernel of DarkBlueWorld repertoire and the arrangements of the group’s members evolve around it.

The group’s title – DarkBlueWorld – describes the nature of its music, which paradoxically blends bitter and often hopeless and melancholic poetry with beautiful music, sadness with happiness, instinctive fury with fragile tenderness.

“We all strive to experience ecstasy. Many of us discover it in material things, others in religion, some in drugs, and yet some in music. I want to experience everything human and crazy and to communicate it through my art”, Fischer unravelled her artistic intentions.

Elizabeth Fischer is very much a child of the mid 20th century. She grew up as a rootless refugee; by the time she was nine she had lived in six countries from Sweden to Argentina. In the early 60s the Fischer finally found a home in Canada – Montreal.

Precocious Elizabeth took to music and art like a duck to water. After graduating from the fine arts school Elizabeth moved to Vancouver where she started singing and playing bass in a punk rock band. In 1980, she co-founded Animal Slaves, a legendary and iconic fixture on Vancouver’s creative music scene.

For over 30 years she has inhabited the nether regions of the cutting edge of the art world – showing her paintings and singing her songs. She has performed her original music in Budapest, sung Hungarian folk songs in Vancouver, toured across Canada, Japan and Europe, collaborated with Elliot Sharp in New York. Her writing has been published in a score of literary journals.

“To create something of a beauty truly profound is difficult”, admitted the artist. “I much prefer that my music speaks for itself without having to manufacture clichés or reference tired and predictable cultural tropes. Yes, I like rhythm and melody to be hypnotic, to involve people both emotionally and physically, and I like a certain lyrical intensity. I try to have courage, to be as passionate as I think I must, and to also be able to describe states of being sometimes not particularly pleasant.”

The singer is able to describe her world and the people in it with humour, irony, and pathos and, even, a little hope. Her dark, sunken alto has a striking diapason of expression – from a macabre growl to a lament or a keening shriek.

The artist confessed that she gets inspired by blues, Gypsy songs and Hungarian folklore, while her profoundly melancholic songs steeped in loss and the impossibility of love, the netherworlds of wounded consciousness, thwarted dreams and modern-day alienation echo with Fado songs, suicide-ballades, tango and many more.
Fischer’s creative ideas determine the line-up of DarkBlueWorld, which is not fixed. However, the leader emphasises, that she never performs without a good bassist and a good drummer, who are responsible for the group’s rhythmic charge.

On Vilnius Jazz stage DarkBlueWorld’s improvisation power rests with Tony Wilson, one of the most original Canadian guitarists. American jazz magazine Down Beat entitled him as “...a talismanic West Coast figure.” On Horse’s Dream, his first solo-based guitar recording, Wilson taped into the history of jazz and blues with his compositions.

Wilson has studied with many acclaimed jazz musicians including Oliver Gannon, Dave Holland, John Abercrombie, Kevin Eubanks and Steve Coleman. He won a West Coast Music Award with his band Video Barbeque and released the critically acclaimed Lowest Note in 2001, which went on to become a pick of the year in The Globe and Mail.

Currently, Wilson works with his Sextet, which includes 5 young Vancouver improvisers. He also collaborates with well-known international artists in the US and Europe. He has shared the stage with Vinny Golia, William Parker, Wilbert de Joode, Gerry Hemingway, Han Bennink, Marilyn Lerner, Toby Delius, Benoit Delbecq & Eric Boeren. Wilson’s compositions have been played by artists as diverse as Myra Melford, Marilyn Crispell, François Houle, The NOW Orchestra, The Hard Rubber Orchestra, Kokoro Dance, and Zubot & Dawson.

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