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Live Reviews

2010 Jarasum Jazz Festival, Gapeyong, South Korea

By Published: October 28, 2010
There was no need for a drummer in this trio as all three musicians carried out percussive duties, and with some ingenuity it has to be said. One the second number, Salis moved a plastic bag back and forwards inside his piano, simulating most effectively the sound of brushes. Bassist di Castro also summoned brushes, simply by rubbing his hand in circular motion on the body of his upright. Various objet trouve, from metal rings on the piano strings, a cloth to dampen the sound of the bass strings and more plastic bag trickery were employed to create the illusion of a percussionist. It was entertaining for the audience and a help to the festival organizers who saved on a drummer's airfare.

Salis switched between piano—which for the most part he hammered like a demon—and his more usual bandoneon, which brought an unmistakable southern European air to the trio. Fresu for his part played sparingly and melodically, delighting the crowd with one sustained note which lasted a minute or so, as di Castro tapped the bass body like a cajon and Salis ripped wild cries from his bandoneon. On the sets slowest number—a highly melodic ballad—Fresu adopted a mute, and on the funky set closer, he employed echo as he and Salis traded fast-back and forth, with the pivotal di Castro right at the heart of the action. The roar of the crowd made an encore inevitable, and the three amici obliged with a short tune in which melody —as it had been throughout the set—was the chief protagonist.

The last concert on the main stage on day one was the Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
1917 - 1993
trumpet
All Stars featuring The Heath Brothers. Tenor saxophonist Jimmy Heath
Jimmy Heath
Jimmy Heath
b.1926
sax, tenor
and drummer Albert 'Tootie' Heath are jazz royalty, even if the National Endowment for the Arts has only honored the elder of the brothers as Jazz Master. Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
1926 - 1991
trumpet
and John Coltrane were both admirers of Jimmy Heath, and Gillespie himself said of Heath:"If you know Jimmy Heath you know bop." 'Tootie' Heath too, has walked with giants, playing with John Coltrane, Johnny Griffin
Johnny Griffin
Johnny Griffin
1928 - 2008
sax, tenor
, Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon
1923 - 1990
sax, tenor
, Sonny Rollins, Nina Simone and Benny Golson
Benny Golson
Benny Golson
b.1929
sax, tenor
.

What's in a name? The Dizzy Gillespie All-Stars has been going since the late '90s and has featured a veritable who's who of jazz over the last dozen years, including Gillespie alumni like James Moody
James Moody
James Moody
1925 - 2010
reeds
and Paquito D'Rivera
Paquito D'Rivera
Paquito D'Rivera
b.1948
saxophone
. Jimmy Heath and bassist John Lee
John Lee
John Lee
b.1952
, however, were the only Gillespie alumni in this sextet—Heath having played in Gillespie's big band between 1949 -50, and Lee joining Gillespie in the 1980s— which arguably makes the use of Gillespie's name little more than a marketing tool—the Heath Brothers Sextet would have done just fine.

Albert 'Tootie' Heath

Tight as it was, this sextet had the light-hearted air of, well, an all-star jam band, and apart from some corny goofing—which Dizzy was never shy of—there was little by way of resemblance to a Gillespie ensemble other than the Gillsepie/Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
1920 - 1955
sax, alto
repertory. The burning intensity of Gillespie's small ensembles was somehow lacking. There was some fine soling to be sure, particularly from alto saxophonist Antonio Hart
Antonio Hart
Antonio Hart
b.1968
saxophone
, from trumpeter Greg Gisbet and pianist Benny Green
Benny Green
Benny Green
b.1963
piano
whose version of "Misty" injected pleasing contrast to the brass. Jimmy Heath—who is now 84—may not have the lung capacity of yesteryear but he can still tell a compelling story on his saxophone. Even if the volume he could muster paled slightly in comparison to that of Hart and Gisbet, his few solo spots were lessons in economy, phrasing and emotive power. 'Tootie' Heath—75—kept time immaculately and his playing was funky at times, and in the pocket. When the ensemble stripped down to a trio of drums, Lee on bass and Benny Green on piano, 'Tootie' Heath came more into his own, working his kit with the guile of half a century, and providing one of the set's highlights.

Jimmy and Tootie Heath received a huge, deserved ovation at the end of the set, recognition no doubt, from a knowledgeable jazz crowd, of their great contribution to jazz. Maybe the NEA people haven't seen 'Tootie' Heath' perform in a while.


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