So the jazz concert last week came and went, and it was a really fun time and a good show. A few friends showed up, which is great for a Monday. The only downside was that it rained, so the show was moved to the local community center. The outdoor venue was apparently right near the train station, so we would have gotten a good crowd of passers-by. Ah well.
The music itself was really great. Great group, great selection of tunes. I felt like my playing was really on, and it was good to have a good group of players to bounce ideas off of. As I mentioned before the show was put together by Lucas, a.k.a young Wolfgang Skywalker, from the LEFT HOOK. He’s eighteen now and going to college for jazz bass in the fall, and his playing has gotten better. His soling in particular has more purpose and melody.
The piano player was his friend Gabe, who’s also starting college in the fall for jazz. The two of them play really well together and have a great rapport and interaction. Gabe is heavily influenced by Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock, to give you an idea of his sound. The drummer was this dude Ed, who’s about my age, and playing and teaching drums is his day job too, so he’s really excellent. Great, fluid sense of time, groove and pocket, plus really creative sense of sound and alot of dynamics and even melodic ideas stirred in there all at once. Plus a really cool cat too. Rounding out the group was Ava, a singer who’s a friend of Lucas and Gabe with a sweet and strong voice.
We only rehearsed twice, and neither time with the full group, so when we got on the stand there was alot of spontaneity. The songs in the set were of three kinds: Bird, Miles and standards. We opened with Cherokee at a suitably brisk tempo, with Ava singing the vocal. This was a really fun one to solo over, and the rhythm section really kept it together. On the reprise of the head Lucas and Ed did a cool half time thing. Next up was Billie’s Bounce, which I knew a long time ago on alto, but don’t think I’ve ever played on tenor. We’d never rehearsed this one and it was a complete surprise when Lucas called it, but still I was able to fake my way thru it no problem.
We did In a Sentimental Mood as a funk song, with vocal, and it worked surprisingly well. Ava stretched out more on this than any other of her numbers. I had to learn it in F (it’s usually in D) to accommodate the singer. We did a pretty straight rendition of There Will Never Be Another You, which also came out quite nice and is right in her zone. We closed the first set with Nardis, which got suitably out-there.
We continued in the vein in the second set, playing Footprints with a bunch of embellishments to the arrangement by Lucas, including a drum solo over an ostinato that lead back into the reprise of the head. Very cool. We did Blue In Green, a beautiful ballad which Gabe and Lucas knew well, but I’d never played or studied before, even though I’ve listened to Kind of Blue a million times. It’s a surprising subtle and deep song.
Switching gears again Ava came back on for Misty. I haven’t played this song in many years, but it felt great and I played a whole chorus for the solo. After the show someone in the audience told me I sound like Coleman Hawkins, which is high praise indeed.
We finished with Donna Lee, another fast bop number which I learned once on alto. At least for this on I had the music, although once more it was unrehearsed. Lucas started playing the head Joco style and then into solo, and we went on from there. Ed took a really good solo too. We played the out head in unison.
So all in all a great show. When it was over and we were leaving, a huge rainbow appeared in the parking lot, from horizon to horizon. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to play another gig this summer.