Monday, June 16, 2008

Hey, it is Indiana...

Blue skies at the Indy Jazz Fest Sunday, too, until just prior to the end of Paquito D'Rivera's set, when a deluge accompanied by lightning rolled in; oh well, I wasn't staying for Fourplay anyway. D'Rivera, accompanied only by 20-year-old pianist Alex Brown, was really good, playing everything from Piazzola to Gillespie to his own tribute to the Dizzy one, A Night in Englewood. I enjoyed his clarinet as much as his saxophone, which he made sound amazingly like a bandoneon on the Piazolla piece.

I think a lot is going to be heard from Brown, by the way. He matched Paquito blow for blow from a creativity and chops perspective. Worries me that age and guile may not always, in fact, beat youth and speed.

Ramsey Lewis and his trio with first-call Chicago bassist Larry Gray were nifty as well. I like the way he mixed the Motownish, funky, soul-oriented stuff he became notable with, church music, the blues, Ellington and even classical in a wide-ranging, consistently catchy show.

The bonus for me was getting there early enough to hear the IUPUI Jazz Ensemble, which was great, and even better with guest artist Oliver Nelson, Jr., on flute and piccolo. Nature or nuture, the guy's a heck of player just like dad.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Blue skies...

Over the Indy Jazz Fest this afternoon. Freddie Hubbard was sounding better than when I heard him at Yoshi's in San Francisco in April. I think he's getting some of his stuff back, particularly on the flugelhorn. You sure couldn't beat the supporting cast he brought along, James Spaulding on alto and flute, Curtis Fuller on trombone, George Cables on piano and Joe Chambers drums. Every one a big hitter. Still, it was a younger guy who really stood out to me, Javon Jackson on tenor. Very creative blowing.

I really dug Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band in the set prior. Amazing how he works the mute Miles style and yet doesn't come off as the least bit imitative. You just don't hear a lot about these guys outside of a small circle and they ought to be headliners. I love the way they put their own stamp on Monk's stuff. I'd like to hear them do a full show instead of one of those hour-long festival things.

Listening to their Moliendo Cafe now, which I bought at the fest. Nifty version of Stardust. Joe Ford rates right up there with James Spaulding in my book and Carter Jefferson on tenor is strong on this as well.

Saturday, June 07, 2008


Willie Pickens and six young dudes, marvy singer Saalik Ziyad leading them, making surprises at Fred Anderson's Velvet Lounge. Essence of AACM. Note to self, keep and eye out of saxophonist Fred Jackson and trombonist Norman Palm IV. These guys have some chops.
-- From Mr. Greg's Sidekick II


Wayne Shorter doesn't much need to record anymore, but wishing he would, at least live. His current quartet is a creativity machine.
-- From Mr. Greg's Sidekick II

Friday, June 06, 2008

Thinking ahead...

Retire to the beach?
I think I'll retire to the South Loop, get up late every day.
And spend my evenings at the Velvet Lounge.
-- From Mr. Greg's Sidekick II