There was also a sense of the austere between guitarist René lussier and drummer Dylan Van Der Schyff, but it was borne more from unfamiliarity than anything else. Their meeting didn’t produce as many sparks as one might have hoped, but they are incapable of being anything but open and experimental, so there was plenty of reaching if not quite enough connection. Lussier continues to inspire with his ability to make music that is at once highly intimate yet oftentimes harsh and dense. Whether shaking blues licks out with his left hand or massaging noise from his strings with emery cloth, Lussier is always on the frontier, unwilling to settle for what’s comfortable. Van der Schyff is also an adventurer, and though one might’ve wished that the two would hook up to take things to another sonic plateau, the drum mer maintained a steady boil under Lussier’s explorations.
That there was much else—and much that, sadly, went unheard by this reviewer —tells the story of Guelph’s continuing growth and vision. The Saturday afternoon beer tent has finally hit its niche, featuring bands like Bunnett’s Spirits Of Havana and guitarist Kevin Breit’s Sisters Euclid that move both the body and the mind, and there are quirky little one-offs like solo balloonist Judy Dunaway that you won’t find at other festivals. Will continued success go to Guelph’s head? No time soon, it seems; once again this is the most grounded, friendly and open festival. It doesn’t have to look afield to find a definition of jazz community; it defines it from within.