April 3, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
I've been going to see more and more music these days, much to the detriment of my need for sleep. Tuesday evening, I decided to check out the Lee Konitz Trio with very special guest, Danilo Perez. The early set, anyway. I know my limitations.
Lee Konitz, at 80, is still making some amazing music. And as much as I get tired of hearing jazz repertory, I never tire of hearing Konitz play standards. Four songs in one set, three of which I recognized. All of which I enjoyed. Konitz has this way of never really playing the melody outright. Instead, he basically smashed the loaf into bread crumbs, and sprinkles them over the course of a 15 minute group improvisation. It takes a while to find it. And by the time you DO find it, you realize that the treasure is not at the end of the trail. It was the crumbs!
Kinda like that whole idea of jazz being more of a how than a what.
Tuesday night, the group (Konitz on alto sax, Danilo on piano, Rufus Reid on bass, and Matt Wilson on drums) played a strange, intermittent funk under "Stella by Starlight," then a less than foolish nod to people time - "I'll remember April." During the last song, I kept wondering if I was hearing a version of Thelonious Monk's "Bemsha Swing..." I wasn't. I was hearing the band play Bob Haggart's "What's New?"
If you want to find the answer to that question - what's new? - follow the bread crumbs to Jazz Standard. This band beats creative loafing any day.
© 2008 WBGO
February 6, 2008. Posted by Angelika Beener.
If you checked out the list of my Top 10 favorite albums of 2007, you remember that Mike Moreno was among them. For those of you who are not familiar, here's your chance to check out this fabulous guitarist. The synergy and fire that this band brings is reminiscent and fresh at the same time, as is Moreno's brilliant playing. Saxophonist John Ellis' tone is one of the sweetest I've ever heard, and Moreno's tunes are classics in the making. Don't be surprised if you see them popping up in various musician's repertoires in the near future. Kendrick Scott's lyricism and dynamics on the drums are awe-inspiring, as usual.
© 2008 WBGO
January 10, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Hope is the thing with feathers. That's what Emily Dickinson wrote. Then again, Emily never left her bedroom, which sounds pretty hopeless. She never saw a moor, nor the sea. And she would not have gone to an Esperanza Spalding show, like I did this morning.
I always ask musicians I know for the scoop on who's coming up. Joe Lovano told me about Esperanza. I checked out her MySpace page, but I had not seen her live.
Her quartet featured Otis Brown Jr. on drums, Leonardo Genovese on piano and Fender Rhodes, and Jamie Haddad on percussion. Esperanza plays bass, and she sings.
Here are two songs about lost love, from two very different times and attitudes.
Esperanza Spalding has a new recording coming out in May on Heads Up Records. - Josh
© 2008 WBGO