Four Chicagoans Stir Up Musical Turbulence in NYC: Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, Ken Vandermark and Jack DeJohnette
The humor that's come to be expected from Dutch players is present in a more arid form, less obvious than usual. Much of the music comes across as stern and cerebral, cool and spiky, but there's also a woody heart to be found, if the audience squints as closely as Baars demands.
Jack DeJohnette/John Patitucci/Danilo Pérez
The Blue Note
April 19, 2009
Here's the final set of the final night of this trio's six-day residency, and they just don't want to leave the stage, delivering one of The Blue Note's maximum-length sets as they just about hit the 90-minute mark. There are no flaggings, and the music moves through many, many moods, constructing a cumulative mass that's almost like that of an extended suite, an exploration of jazz at its most ethnically-shaded. Having said this, any particular country's folkloric pattern is rarely specifically evident as a source: this trio prefers a pan-African, pan-Latin, pan-Asian vocabulary that becomes a part of their own improvising personalities, creating a specific group sound.
They're celebrating the release of Music We Are, the new album on the Chicago-born Jack DeJohnette's own label, Golden Beams, and they're in deep ecstasy, winning a special award for particularly close eye contact and sensitive receptivity. It's best for the audience to keep a close watch on these three, as DeJohnette is brushing his just-out-of sight electro-pads, widening the percussive palette, and the Panamanian Danilo Pérez has his back turned, hunching over something to the side of his piano that sounds just like a set of tablas, but must surely be his synthesiser keyboard. Meanwhile, John Patitucci is swapping between upright acoustic and his wide-necked six-string electric bass, according to the misty-dreaming or humid-funking needs of each number. There are varying degrees of flamboyance: Pérez in a constant state of childlike excitement, as he hits another loquacious run on the keys, DeJohnette the calmest, with Patitucci inhabiting the middle ground, as a rubberised funkline creator, with a bobbing head to match. The range is phenomenal, cutting from raging fusion to temple-like meditation. DeJohnette thunders around his skins and cymbals with ear-shaking power, but a few minutes later, both band and hushed audience are communing in one of the most peaceful stretches of concentration ever witnessed in a jazz club.
Trombonist Steve Turre is sitting at the table in front of your scribe, and he looks like he's entering into a deeply trance-like state.