Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved reader experience across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

239

Blue Note 7 Celebrates 70 at the Kennedy Center

Franz A. Matzner By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Vorcza at Nectar's Live Reviews Vorcza at Nectar's
by Doug Collette
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Rossano Sportiello Trio at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews Rossano Sportiello Trio at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Jazztopad 2017: Concerts In Living Rooms Live Reviews Jazztopad 2017: Concerts In Living Rooms
by Martin Longley
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC Winter Jazzfest Live Reviews Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 15, 2018
Read Carl Bartlett, Jr. at Jazz At Kitano Live Reviews Carl Bartlett, Jr. at Jazz At Kitano
by Keith Henry Brown
Published: January 13, 2018
Read Kurt Rosenwinkel at Chris’ Jazz Café Live Reviews Kurt Rosenwinkel at Chris’ Jazz Café
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: January 2, 2018
Read "WOMAD 2017" Live Reviews WOMAD 2017
by Martin Longley
Published: September 21, 2017
Read "Burlington Discover Jazz Festival 2017" Live Reviews Burlington Discover Jazz Festival 2017
by Doug Collette
Published: June 18, 2017
Read "Karuna at LaFontsee Gallery" Live Reviews Karuna at LaFontsee Gallery
by John Ephland
Published: May 2, 2017
Read "Kim Nalley's Tribute to Nina Simone" Live Reviews Kim Nalley's Tribute to Nina Simone
by Walter Atkins
Published: March 31, 2017
Read "Matthew Shipp Trio at SFJAZZ" Live Reviews Matthew Shipp Trio at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: December 19, 2017
Read "Tony Bennett at Birmingham Symphony Hall" Live Reviews Tony Bennett at Birmingham Symphony Hall
by David Burke
Published: July 5, 2017