30th Annual Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland
From his opening, screeching salvo, Jones continually shot back the heads of his bandmates, surprising and impressing them as much as the audience. Stephens flamed mad, spiraling solos from dissonant, block-chord constructions in the Tyner mode. Smith, who was presented with the 2009 Cleveland Jazz Legend award before the concert, worked the sax lineage as is his wont, employing baritone, tenor, alto and soprano voices in his frenetic, leaping statements. Bassist Holmes often used his solos as space- and time-stretching exercises, tempering the sizzle of his mates with musings of deep and economic wisdom. Samuels had his moment on "Elvin (Sir) Jones," filling the titular drummer's shoes with a loud aggressive attack that drilled the rock of this subterraneous renderingSmith's baritone subbing for Tyner's keys and Anderson's trombone taking over for Ron Carter's bass. And Klayman's second sax stitched the music with a strong bop underpinning. All told it was a highly successful birth for the festival's new "resident ensemble" and, as such, bode well for the event's continued artistic growth over the next 30 years.