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Burlington Discover Jazz Festival 2014

Doug Collette By

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Surprisingly, or perhaps not—considering their long-term friendship—Ron Carter's trio played first this evening with the saxophonist and his quartet following, right away establishing a sonic realism suited to this well established venue: the remodeled, retooled, and reconfigured landmark of Burlington seemed perfectly suited to carry the acoustic sounds of piano and standup bass, while the leader's horn emitted sounds that seemed to glow in the air. And it was good that it did, given his intros to each tune the group played. Self-effacing and facetious as he was (and to the extent it masked the somewhat predictable approach of the ensemble), the flow of the evening suffered slightly as he framed his intros to a Clifford Brown tune and his own ode to the famous trumpeter. Moving from sax to Mike Ladonne's piano, then to Peter Washington's bass, and then Carl Allen on drums, didn't exactly bespeak spontaneity, but at least the latter evinced true personality when it came time for him to command the stage alone on the percussion composition "Out of the Shadows." The applause that erupted across the venue was in proportion to his concentration and the nuance that arose from it.

Linda May Han Oh Sun Pictures Quartet
June 2, 2014

The Linda Oh Quartet finished their FlynnSpace set with a flourish, playing with the finesse of a well practiced team of high-flying trapeze artists who know how to stay just close enough to each other. The Sun Pictures Quartet maintained the melody and the rhythm of the music, yet still impressed with their own individual and collective grace in motion. Their well deserved (and enthusiastically demanded) encore was more of the same, if a little less involved, as the flourishes proffered by guitarist Matt Stevens only heightened the perception that—apart from Oh herself with an exquisite touch for melody on her standup bass—the most provocative musician on the intimate stage was drummer Rudy Royston: his percussive attack on his kit pushed the boundaries of what the group was doing on this comparatively structured number.

Geoffrey Keezer Trio
June 4, 2014

Fans of Geoffrey Keezer were probably not that surprised to have him preface his performance with his trio with a segment of solo piano. Still, those dedicated followers were no doubt as delighted as the comfortable capacity crowd to hear a Steve Wonder tune and Peter Gabriel's "Come Talk to Me" stand as a concert, in and of itself. Keezer distinguished himself from the other contemporary giant of jazz piano, Brad Mehldau, by alternating between the latter's dense exploration of melodic motifs and a more deliberately spacious take on his chosen material. That approach was implicit on "These Three Words," but more pronounced as he played the original from the former Genesis frontman, in part no doubt because, as Keezer noted in introducing the number, he wanted to maintain a pronounced rhythmic foundation as the author prefers.

Fredericks Brown
Waterfront Tent
June 5, 2014

Opening for Maceo Parker with a healthily eclectic set, the likes of which has become the trademark of Discover Jazz shows on the shores of Lake Champlain, Fredericks Brown suggested when they next return to Burlington, Discover Jazz or otherwise, they will be the headlining act. Deva Mahal (daughter of Taj) sounded as earnest in her stage repartee as she sounded honest and unaffected in her singing before an ever-expanding crowd. Co-leader Stephanie Brown played keyboards, including a synth bass that locked with the syncopation-laden drumming of Fen Ikner, even as she complemented the sonic coloration emanating from guitarist Michael Taylor. The latter's role was perhaps understated to a fault, but there's no shortage of overbearing heroes of that instrument and his knowledgeable restraint is the source of the group's fundamental appeal: Fredericks Brown know they have nothing to prove and their confidence was winning this overcast evening near the water.

Warren Wolf and Wolfpack
June 5, 2014


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