A Dozen Free Concert Downloads
Free online concerts are either getting more frequent or I'm just spending too much time downloading them.
Either way, I'm now backlogged with shows I've been meaning to review, but putting aside halfway through as I discover and listen to new ones. So I'm taking the easy way out and offering quick summaries of some more notable postings from early 2005.
There's considerable variety of jazz genres including folksy instrumentals, straight-ahead, classic fusion, contemporary smooth and heavily accented worldbeat. Not to mention inevitable jam bands seemingly more numerous than anything online, although only those well into the above-average range get a notice here. For the most part the shows are among the most recently posted, even if actual performance dates don't reflect this.
Many bands have additional shows postedhundreds in some casesand members belonging to groups with other online collections. As a result, I've already found enough new material to get backlogged again, so look for another roundup in the near future.
Live at Dulcinea's in Denver
January 22, 2005
Those with a desire to genetically splice Bela Fleck and Thelonious Monk can get their fix with this quartet led by Dave Johnston on banjo and BlackDog on guitar. The nearly 2 1/2-hour performance is highlighted by a large number of standards such as "All Of Me" and "Love For Sale" in a folkish vein, plus plenty of modern work such as "Country Funk" and the R&Bish nine-minute "Un-named Tune." Sound quality is somewhat muffled and sometimes solos hang out too long in simple crowd-pleasing indulgences, but for the most part it's lively, intriguing and highly interactive work by a loose group of players on their game.
The Connecticut Yankee
January 21, 2005
The debut online concert by this San Francisco jazz/experimental quartet deserves a full review, but will have to settle for the short and sweetly worded treatment instead. They play modern blues-laced styles all over the mapevident from their completely meter-twisting rendition of "Afro Blue"and players like saxophonist Barry Thompson demonstrate experience with everything from big band to garage band rock. The sound is a bit muddy, but it's definitely above audience tape quality and more than good enough to sustain interest during the 2 1/2-hour appearance.
Jake's Sports Cafe
February 22, 2005
In the hopelessly vast jungle of online jam bands, the Houston-based Drop Trio is solidly entrenched somewhere in my top 10 due to a mixture of proficiency and excessive generosity (they post new material at their site weekly). This 2 1/4-hour performance has an audience tape quality and some previous shows are more impressive, but it's addicting to see what new marathon treatments they give compositions such as "AbbeyRhodes," "Mothership" and "Melody-Melody" (even if the latter shuffles along a bit leisurely). Keyboardist Ian Varley holds his own with any modernistic player when he's at his best, bassist Patrick Flanagan never disappears from consciousness even when he's merely anchoring a riff, and drummer Nuje displays a keen sense of when to back off for others and when to go nuts.
The Living Daylights
Live At Casanova's
March 19, 2004
Expectations were sky high for this modernistic trio since it is led by saxophonist Jessica Lurie, whose separately reviewed concert of Feb. 18 is already on my list of top online performances for 2005. This nearly three-hour-long Hawaiian gig doesn't disappoint other than audio quality, which like many shows in this article is rather muffled. The beat can get monotonous, but Lurie keeps it alive with bop, funk, rock and freeformoften in the same solo. Bassist Arne Livingston adds the kind of heft most modern acts could learn a lot from, mixing detailed note-heavy essays with easy reference hooks. It also helps they're comfortable with cross-genre and cross-era stylings, giving listeners a better appreciation for their "latest thing" efforts by providing interludes of traditional and cultural spice.
Yonrico Scott Band
August 15, 2002
Look at the set list by this organ-backed fusion/blues grouptunes like "Watermelon Man," "Back At The Chicken Shack" and "Shake Everything You've Got"and it's pretty obvious what lies ahead for 100 or so minutes. For the most part it lives up to the billing, delivering the kind of night you'd want on a Friday when you're in the mood to get down with something better than the average band. The only hitches: Recording quality ranges from very good to barely above an audience tape and sometimes things are so loose there's missteps by players apparently uncertain what's happening next.
Way Of The Groove
February 15, 2005