50th for Kind of Blue, an Evening of Brass and Silver
The day's rain and heat subsided, replaced by a cool country dark which would set the evening's tone. Coursing along rain-washed asphalt past black mountain silhouettes, I was accompanied by my beloved and by Bowie's David Live, en route to The Belleayre Music Festival. The night's billing featured drummer Jimmy Cobb's So What Band, a tribute to the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis's quintessential Jazz album Kind of Blue, and to Cobb's role as sole-surviving member of that legendary line-up. Cobb has played and recorded with Jazz greats such as John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, and Wes Montgomery, and his sensitivity to ensemble playing remains at the fore in the So What Band.
Throughout the set, the band's dynamics drifted subtly in and out of tricky syncopation, delicate passages and the occasional hard groove, always faithful to understated line and grace. Along with Cobb, bassist Buster Williams and pianist Larry Willis represented the old guard, reminding the Jazz fan that properly observed tradition always breathes life. While these three essential Jazz musicians provided support for the horn section, their interplay was a session in the joyful science that is Jazz. Willis's chordal ideas were inventive but Williams' playing was especially strong, his laid-back approach belying authority and gut. The horn section included Vincent Herring (alto saxophone), Javon Jackson (tenor saxophone), and Christian Scott (trumpet). Scott's ability to capture Miles Davis's nuanced voice was well-suited to the aim of The So What Band, but Jackson's phrasing and attack were particularly notable. His soloing incorporated surprising hooks and burn.
Kudos must also be expressed for Belleayre Music Festival. The natural beauty and lush greenery of the surrounding Catskills provide an exceptional setting for good music. The facility and grounds are both intimate and well-maintained, allowing for enjoyment of the concert without distraction.
And Kudos to Christian for this excellent review. It almost makes me feel like I was there!
After a whirlwind of activity and shows last week, this week, we only have two events that I’m recommending, but they’re both doozies! Saturday night at The Bearsville Theater, there will be a reunion of the great LEFT BANKE of “Walk Away Renee” reknown. I went to high school with these guys, and I’m really looking forward to this one.
Then on Monday and Tuesday, the amazing ALBERT LEE stops in at The Iridium in Manhattan. Monday night it’s a tribute to Les Paul, with Mister Lee performing with Les’ trio. Tuesday night, I imagine it’s ‘just’ a regular Albert Lee show. To see what this guy can do, pick up “Sweet Little Lisa” by Dave Edmunds. Albert is the featured guitarist on this cut, and my Facebook friends already know that I regard this as one of the two greatest recorded guitar solos of all time, the other being, “The Way I Walk” by Robert Gordon, featuring the immortal Link Wray.
Enjoy your week, and don’t forget to visit the new Reservoir Music website at www.reservoirmusiccenter.com. See ya!