01/23/11 By Susan Frances
Ike Sturm's Band Performs for Order From Chaos
Live at St. Peter's Church, New York, New York
Order From Chaos
St. Peter’s Church
619 Lexington Avenue
New York, New York
Date: October 22, 2010
Ike Sturm – bass, Chris Dingman – vibes, Ryan Ferreira – guitar, Loren Stillman – saxophone, Ralph Alessi – trumpet
Music producer/filmmaker Ana-Isabel Ordonez has a knack for conceiving projects that pair jazz-inspired improvisations with film. Her latest project Order From Chaos documents the lives of three Holocaust survivors/Shoah survivors. Their stories are interspersed by interviews from savants in the field like Rabbi Carie Carter, Benoit Wesly, and Leszek Szuster. Ordonez presented her film at St. Peter’s Church in New York City on October 22, 2010, accompanied by jazz bassist Ike Sturm, vibraphonist Chris Dingman, guitarist Ryan Ferreira, saxophonist Loren Stillman, and trumpeter Ralph Alessi. Their performance gave her film a deeper dimension particularly the rhythm section of Sturm and Dingman.
The film is segmented into 16 sections which are threaded into a cohesive story. During the section of “Revealing The Concealed,” the film delves into the uprising of the Nazi regime which is heightened by the low-key rumbles of Sturm’s bass and the jittering chimes of Dingman’s vibes. The footage turns gloomy as narrator Herb Robertson speaks from the memoirs of survivor Albert Katzenger describing how the Nazis imprisoned him and sentenced to a concentration camp. The music is dark and mysterious as the guitar effects played by Ferreira embrace the foreboding sensations which are evoked by going through the deathly hallows of a concentration camp.
The musicians rely on their own instincts as to what they play while the scenes traverse and evolve, and the stories of two other Holocaust survivors, Yehuda Cheres and Loter Martin, are examined. Sturm and Dingman performed admirably as they kept their eyes on the film and their hands channeling the images on the screen into their notes. This was particularly evident when the music turned eclectic through the section of “Long Range Vision” and then gently ambient impressions of “Passion” as Katzenger’s story reveals that he learns his lover, whom he was separated from during the war, has given birth to his daughter. The music shifts into a jubilant mood along the melodic patterns that signify “The Holy Land” where the film travels into the spacious environs of Israel and the cosmopolitan aura of present day Tel Aviv. The vibes are bright and the sprightly leaps of the bass contrast the mournful atmospherics of “Water” where Robertson’s narration reveals that Katzenger discovers his lover has died. This is the point in the film when Katzenger decides to write his memoirs which became the impetus for Order From Chaos.
Ordonez enlightens, “The subject is emotional and it needs music that converses with the narration and the parts of silence. Music has to be an actor on the film.” And she treats the music as a partner with her film.
Order From Chaos has recently been shown at the Jewish Festival in Tilburg, The Netherlands on November 28, 2010.
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