June 4, 2008. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
When you get to your folding chair at the Jazz Gallery on Hudson St.,
there's a personal cardboard fan on your seat, and you think what a nice
souvenir. But by the end of the Roy Hargrove Big Band set, you are using
that fan! You ARE a fan! With 18 guys and a woman -- hallelujah Tanya
Darby on trumpet -- crammed into one end of the oblong loft, and the
audience filling the rest, from the back wall to sax players' feet, you
FEEL this band and it feels GOOD! I love that there's only one mic, for
Roy to speak and, briefly, sing. I love that he has about a square yard
in which to conduct, then turn 180 and play. I love it all. He's
expanding his small group music, and his writing is fresh and old school
at the same time, all accents and syncopation, and the band is playing
almost flawlessly. Gerald Clayton's on piano! The set's not too long.
The Roy Hargrove Big Band plays the Jazz Gallery once more this summer
on June 10. Then after that, your next opp to see them is June 15 at the
Hollywood Bowl, so opt for the great vibes at the Gallery where the
band, the sound and the audience are one and the same. And thanks to Zan
Stewart for his motivating review in the Star Ledger.
© 2008 WBGO
March 11, 2008. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
Dennis Irwin died at 3:30 yesterday afternoon. Four hours later, in the Allen Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Joe Lovano's band led off what was to have been a benefit concert. Like Dennis, Lovano's bassist Cameron Brown is white-haired and medium height -- a detail you notice with bassists. I wanted to believe he was Dennis. Wynton Marsalis spoke of Dennis's "most magnificent attitude." The rest of the night spoke to his most magnificent music. Among the moments, Bill Frisell's phrases and spaces evoking "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," and Harry Allen and Joe Cohn's simple sax / guitar duo of "Body and Soul." David Berger told the story of Dennis coming to BAM to sub in the Harlem Nutcracker, a complicated, fast-paced score which Dennis virtually sightread. At the end of the first act, the band spontaneously gave the bassist a standing ovation. Dennis stayed in David's band for the next 11 years. Adorable in a tiny dress and high high heels, Aria Hendricks -- Dennis's love -- sang with her father Jon on "Doodlin'". Jon sang air bass on his solo.
© 2008 WBGO