On the spot improvisation can get its comeuppance in a live concert: musicians can let their instinct tell them when they have said enough, or they can choose to ignore it and carry on. There are some long tracks here, but it is to the credit of this trio that they keep interest at the high end almost all through the way. (There is a far too abstract an air when there’s “Sunshine In Sexial.” Besides, it’s dank and dark.)
This apart, the band shows an unerring instinct for mind-link. From that intuition ideas germinate, are developed and passed on. This becomes articulate communion where rhythm, melody and emotional impulse are distinctly manifested. The tune “For José Saramago” sprouts from a melodic line on the arco from bassist Ken Filiano. The exposition is at first deliberate, with trombonist Steve Swell coming in for a melange of bent notes, smears and looping lines. As tension is drawn taut by the two, Lou Grassi swishes in on the brushes, Swell brings in a touch of the blues, then in comes a waft of swing and an altogether different tangent.
Filiano and Grassi turn in a hypnotic spell when they do the “Dance Of The Expatriates,” the former building the momentum in slow modulation. When Swell comes in on the muted trombone with flinty lines, the impact is gripping. Amado and Curado aid and abet “Avant Fado Meeting.” The music dances on the soprano and the baritone but is taken into a different dimension by the stop time and the short jabs and punctuations between the three horns. Amália Rodriguez would not have approved of the fado being unravelled in serrated lines, but give it to the band: they do add an interesting adjunct.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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