Jeff Gauthier gave his new Cryptonight concert series at the comfortable Club Tropical an auspicious inauguration on August 28th, presenting the Bobby Bradford Motet. The band performed in front of an equipment-stuffed stage on a wood dance floor. Soft couches surrounded the platform, but most of those attending took in the show from the raised dining area south of the dance floor. Waitresses toted Salvadoran treats from the kitchen and international favorites from the full bar.
This edition of the Motet included longtime members Roberto Miranda on bass, Vinny Golia on soprano and baritone saxophones, and Ken Rosser on guitar. Ably filing the drum chair was Mike Stephens. In addition to the Motet, Rosser also plays with Quartetto Nuevo and the New Grandmothers, playing the Zappa parts. The versatile Rosser has also logged time with John Cage, Alphonso Johnson, kora master Prince Diabate, Elvis Schoenberg Orchestra Surreal – and in addition to guitar, he also plays sitar, lap steel banjo, and Turkish cumbus. He recently won the LA Theatre Award for his score to the play Turning Points.
Bradford opened with “Sho Nuff Blues,” a straight-ahead swinger that showed off the frontline. Bradford bopped his opening statement to Rosser’s cleanly comped chords. Golia came out swinging on a soulful baritone solo. Rosser’s single note lead went from crisp to sparkling. Miranda and Stephens kept the engine running with Miranda popping along. The tune that followed kicked the pace up with Stephens and Miranda cooking. Golia burned through a solo echoed by Bradford. Rosser worked the neck with quicksilver lines, and Miranda of all people slowed it down exploring a wide tonal range on the bass.
Golia switched to soprano for the next piece. Bradford, Golia, and Rosser improvised the opening with the rhythm section joining. Rosser soloed quick and outside, while Miranda bowed and Stephens brought brisk brushwork. Bradford changed the tempo and mood, introducing Golia’s duet with Stephens. Golia tore through his variations, then Bradford matched his force and maintained the momentum. For the next tune, Stephens locked into a bolero beat with Miranda eyes closed keeping time. Rosser wove chords behind Vinny’s foray through the minor theme.
They picked up the tempo again with a bebop blues that had Bradford sailing on cornet. Rosser played it fleet and clean, and Golia’s bluesy take gave way to gale force wind. Miranda’s solo gave another display of blazing technique and heart.
The intense dynamic interplay and soaring creativity of the Bradford Motet set a high standard for future editions of Cryptonight at the Club Tropical. With upcoming bookings including Jeff Gautier’s Gautet and Vinny Golia’s Quintet, Cryptonight means that from now on the weekend begins on Thursday.
For more information, visit Cryptonight on the web.