13 in 51

As always, thanks to Heidi for indulging my musical interests.  We had a great time in Knoxville for the Big Ears Festival, seeing 13 performances in a little more than 48 hours.

  1. The Bad Plus
  2. Kronos Quarter + Wu Man ( + Terry Riley + Laurie Anderson)
  3. Loscil
  4. A Winged Victory for the Sullen
  5. Kronos Quartet + Laurie Anderson
  6. Max Richter + ACME
  7. Pilot Light dive bar
  8. Sam Amidon + Bill Frisell
  9. Yuki Numata Resnick
  10. Bing & Ruth
  11. Kronos Quartet + Bryce Dessner + Tanya Tagaq
  12. Bill Frisell
  13. Max Richter + ACME + Knoxville Symphony Orchestra

(performers that are new to me shown in italics)

For me there was one dud (A Winged Victory for the Sullen), but there were many highlights and the two Max Richter performances, alone, were worth the 12 hour drive.  Memorable moments included the opening night encore by Kronos with Terry Riley, Laurie Anderson and Chinese pipa player, Wu Man, doing an improvisation “In D”, some 50 years after Riley’s landmark “In C” composition.  Also Yuki Numata Resnick’s unannounced solo violin performance on Saturday afternoon at the Knoxville Museum of Art was first rate. And walking into Sam Amidon’s show at 10 pm on Saturday, knowing absolutely nothing about him, then watching him come on stage with Bill Frisell as his backing guitarist (surprise!).

My one regret was not seeing Icelandic cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir, whose 2014 release Saman was on my top 10.  Even though she performed on 3 occasions, we just couldn’t be everywhere at once.

Knoxville turned out to have much more character than I expected.  The downtown area is compact, but has more than enough interesting spots to have a meal and a drink.

Getting out to see live music is generally worth the effort, but this was a particularly good one.

Photos of the acts (all shared on the internet, none taken by me) are below.

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