Published Sep 13, 2010The Guelph Jazz Festival has, once again, paid homage to the incredible diversity of sound and form that the word jazz has come to mean. Although many artists and fans have vigorously contested the legitimacy of the term jazz, it remains the best description of the most rabidly inclusive of art musics in the world coming from the world's youngest art culture. This year's programming started off with a stunning debut by the Toronto duo of Ben Grossman on wired hurdy gurdy and Germaine Liu on percussion/drum kit. Grossman's measured and expansive ambient drones were sprinkled with percussive effects that were set off beautifully by the sensitive and attentive drumming of Liu. What followed was a one-off supergroup of Jim Black, Taylor Ho Bynum, Sylvie Courvosier and Bob Ostertag, which displayed individual and duo virtuosity but never really gelled as a quartet. Friday saw Indian fusion ensemble Tasa (with guest Mark Feldman on violin) struggling with an inappropriately loud PA mix and later that evening the trio of Jane Bunnett (reeds) Henry Grimes (bass) and Andrew Cyrille (drums) played a dynamic and varied set made even more admirable by the fact that Bunnett had sustained a hand injury in the month before the concert. While this may have been the reason for a slow start, Bunnett broke through with some amazing reed and flute work whose flames were fanned well by the astounding playing of Cyrille and Grimes. Saturday at the Guelph Festival is the day for running around and making hard choices. The jazz tent was in full swing closing off Upper Wyndam streets for free concerts .The main stage set started at 10:30 am with Marilyn Crispell's awesome solo piano, followed by an inspired outdoor set by Toronto's Canaille, to the somewhat unfocused stagger of Montreal's 30 piece Ratchet Orchestra, contrasted by the precision and swing of the Broadview Trio, and over to Marilyn Lerner, Lou Grassi and Ken Filiano blazing through an inspired set. After just enough time to chill and catch your breath, the evening's main stage was underway with a pleasant but conventional set of Indo/jazz fusion featuring reed legend Charles Lloyd, tabla master Zakir Hussain and kit drummer Eric Harland. What came afterwards was a challenging yet riveting display of improvisation by AACM stalwarts Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis and Roscoe Mitchell, reminding all that age does not necessarily dim artistry and fresh ideas. The evening closed off by an awesome performance by the Chicago Underground Duo of Rob Mazurek (trumpet/electronics) and Chad Taylor (percussion/electronics) whose intense narrative of improv and composition never let up for a second. Sunday's performance by the trio of Chad Taylor, Marc Ribot (guitar) and Henry Grimes burned with a full throttle blast of rock'n'roll-fuelled free improv, proving once more that there is a jazz for everyone, even dyed in the wool punk rockers.