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.


Janet said...

Sounds wonderful -- I'm envious!


Mr. Greg said...

Janet. First time I'd been to the Indianapolis festival, even though it's nearby. Nicely organized and not too crowded with a mix of quality stuff, although not big on the avant-garde.