A warm lively summer night in Leimert Park found the Dwight Trible band celebrating their imminent departure on a European tour. 5th St. Dick's cozy environs hosted the festivities, providing an intimate visit with one of LA's jazz giants. Core band members wind player Joshua Spiegelman and percussion master Derf Reklaw joined Jeffrey Littleton on bass, Cornell Fowler on drums, and Harold Land, Jr. on piano. Land's gentlemanly pianistics authentically connect Trible to a fading quality of jazz vocal, revitalizing it.
Gathering on and off the small stage for the second set, Littleton began the familiar bass line to their signature hymn, "John Coltrane. Reklaw and Fowler picked it up, Spiegelman eased in high and sweet on tenor before rolling around his full low tone. Trible walks into the opening vocal, casually varying his delivery. He shifts easily to stratospheric improvisation. Spiegelman expresses a mellow reverence that evolves into a multiphonic flutter, resolving in dulcet tones. Reklaw fully engaged bounces around the rhythm on congas sounding happy.
An appropriately impassioned version of Abby Lincoln's "Throw It Away followed. Land delivered a gorgeous reading, but the club's PA failed amid crackling hiss. As a happy result, Trible finished the set unmiked, his big voice easily audible over the band. In that small room Trible needs amplification like a jet engine needs a megaphone. "If you can't sing without a microphone, you don't nee to be singing at all, he correctly observed.
Trible turned "Soul Eyes into a tour de force of feeling, mostly in sublime duet with Land, rhythm section easing in quietly. After Littleton's "Love Supreme intro ignited the room, Trible's marrow melting performance drew on lyrics sung as though created in the moment. Like a Moroccan trance musician, Spiegelman locked into tight slightly changing arpeggios that amped the intensity. Land jumped into a rhythm section at cruising altitude. Reklaw displayed his joyful percussion mastery, suggesting melody within every possible beat variation.
The finale, a lovely duet with Land with some input by Littleton, brought the ship down safely. Sung almost as a lullaby, "My Shining Hour had Land making the upright piano sound grand. A well deserved and sincere standing ovation sent Trible and company off to spread the Word, while eagerly awaiting their safe return.
Why do I love jazz? Well, depending on what you mean by jazz, I can send an answer in any number of directions. Briefly, I was exposed to this crazy music as a little boy, my dad good friends with the local music store, where he bought sheet music to play from his baby grand
Why do I love jazz? Well, depending on what you mean by jazz, I can send an answer in any number of directions. Briefly, I was exposed to this crazy music as a little boy, my dad good friends with the local music store, where he bought sheet music to play from his baby grand. Their massive record collection, my parents taking me to concerts and clubs (only one of five kids to do so), the Magnavox furniture stereo/radio ... it all added up. It was complex, emotional music. And it had rhythm! I drummed and followed the music through the '60s even as I enjoyed the new musics of my generation.
Along with side-trips to other musicians and music, it's been one hell of a pony ride ever since.