Review: Maria Faust Sacrum Facere

20. April 2014
Jorge Poveda

The NO99 Jazz club looked very graceful for the elegant local saxophonist Maria Faust and her Danish group of musicians Sacrum Facere

I knew her previous projects, Maria Faust Group, Pistol No. 9, and Maria Faust Jazz Catastrophe. The current project was different – showing less improvisation and chaos than the last work Jazz Catastrophe. I was expecting an experimental jazz without the support of any percussion or common string instruments. 

The crowded atmosphere in the venue was not there only for a simple jazz concert because of the contemporary experimental jazz that Maria Faust creates, but also because the Estonian audience could enjoy the presence of a talented Estonian musician at home. The connection between the audience and the artist was even greater after presenting speeches and introduction of Faust and her music.

With the first notes Faust demonstrated to everybody in the venue that she is a very energetic musician and enjoys creating different kinds of sounds with the saxophone. She has an ability to experiment with the instrument to unsuspected limits. The same goes with the rest of the band – a group of musicians that connected perfectly in the same level of creativity and improvisational capacity with their instruments. 

The first piece of jazz was amazingly beautiful, with really harmonic parts and showing the virtuosity of the musicians with some incredible solos. Jonathan Ahlbom on the tuba, artfulness on the piano strings of Emanuele Maniscalco creating thrilling and chaotic sounds and Kristi Mühling on the kannel  (a kind of Estonian zither) creating extremely beautiful melodies that could inspire love to every new experimental jazz fan. Sometimes during the concert I felt like I was inside a movie. It was the perfect soundtrack for a movie where something interesting happens every minute. From the thriller parts to the suspense and also parts of classical comedy and drama.

The second piece started with a calm melody increasing softly with the sounds of the kannel and piano. This piece could perfectly fit in a Danish independent movie, and specially in Dogma 95 Manifesto, an avant-garde collective created by Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg.

For me, the concert’s climax came during the third piece. All instruments were creating inspirational stories and unimaginable feelings in my mind. It could be described in only two words: musical poetry. Mads Hyhne on the trombone contributed contretemps rhythms as Maria Faust led the rest of the band with the saxophone and creating vocal percussion imitating the sound of a snare drum, followed by Peter Fuglsang on the clarinet. A really original and impressive way to substitute the absence of real percussion.

From the forth piece my “movie” turned into a chaotic and destructive phase, more full of improvisation and psychedelic tones, creating an abstract atmosphere. It was like a labyrinth of sounds that you can never escape. The instruments were played with violence, but always keeping the order inside the chaos, so it was beautifully noisy. There was a moment when the strong bass vibrations caused a small poster of Jazzkaar to fall into the piano but the band didn’t even notice – they were so concentrated. Everything looked like prepared inside of that “movie” plot, so it had to happen to give more drama to the performance

In the last part, Maria Faust dedicated a piece to her deceased friend. That music was full of melancholy, with some parts showing Maria’s sweet voice and saxophone extravagant solos. The last piece reminded nature sounds, like wind blowing and moving the leaves from the trees indicating the pass of time.

Maria Faust’s concerts are a good way to create your own “movie” with the help of music, and to get involved by the quality and unique atmosphere of her band.

Maria Faust Sacrum Facere

April 18 at the Theatre NO99 Jazz Club

The band

Maria Faust (alto saxophone and composer), 

Emanuele Maniscalco (piano), 

Jonathan Ahlbom (tuba), 

Ned Ferm (tenor saxophone), 

Tobias Wiklund (trumpet), 

Peter Fuglsang (clarinet), 

Kristi Mühling (kannel), 

Mads Hyhne (trombone)