Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
239

Blue Note 7 Celebrates 70 at the Kennedy Center

Franz A. Matzner By

Sign in to view read count Views
Blue Note 7

Kennedy Center

April 5, 2009

Washington, D.C.

Featuring a super group compiled from its illustrious roster, last Sunday night's concert at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Blue Note recording label with a series of musical snapshots of some of its most renowned composers, performers, and individual compositions.

Arranged somewhat like a historical documentary, or perhaps a eulogy, the evening proceeded in a highly structured way. Each tune was carefully framed by a brief introductory explanation, with each performer given their turn at the mike, and the ensuing performance presented essentially as a round robin of solos honoring each composer's stylistic contribution to history.

Performed by Ravi Coltrane (tenor saxophone), Nicholas Payton (trumpet), Steve Wilson (alto saxophone, flute), Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Charlap (piano), Peter Washington (bass), and Lewis Nash (drums), each of the night's tunes was executed with grace, deference, and utmost respect. The result was a series of satisfying renditions of many crowd favorites, including Herbie Hancock's "Dolphin Dance," McCoy Tyner's "Search for Peace," and Monk's "Evidence".

As always with musicians of such stature, there were many individual moments of astounding musicianship as they worked their way through these offerings—from Payton's patient, high register explorations on "Inner Urge," to Nash's rhythmic inventiveness on the night's highlight "United," to Washington's dexterous bass on "Dolphin Dance".

Despite these moments, however, in the end the concert seemed less than the sum of its parts due to the scripted nature of the format. A more compelling choice might have been to celebrate Blue Note's history of creativity by foregoing the predictable format of an anniversary tour, with its requisite formal dignity, to feature something more free-wheeling.

Doing so might not have resulted in technically better music, but could have produced a few more surprises by liberating the immensely talented artist's gathered on stage instead of pressing their creativity beneath the glass of a retrospective.

Related Video

District Jazz
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Mosaic: a Celebration of Blue Note Records
Mosaic: a Celebration...
Blue Note Records
2009
buy
Mosaic
Mosaic
Blue Note Records
2009
buy
Mosaic: A Celebration of Blue Note Records
Mosaic: A Celebration...
Blue Note Records
2008
buy
Pat Metheny Pat Metheny
guitar
Roy Hargrove Roy Hargrove
trumpet
Wynton Marsalis Wynton Marsalis
trumpet
Dave Brubeck Dave Brubeck
piano
Freddie Hubbard Freddie Hubbard
trumpet
Wayne Shorter Wayne Shorter
saxophone
Lee Konitz Lee Konitz
sax, alto

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.