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A warm lively summer night in Leimert Park found the Dwight Trible band celebrating their imminent departure on a European tour. 5th St. Dick's cozy environs hosted the festivities, providing an intimate visit with one of LA's jazz giants. Core band members wind player Joshua Spiegelman and percussion master Derf Reklaw joined Jeffrey Littleton on bass, Cornell Fowler on drums, and Harold Land, Jr. on piano. Land's gentlemanly pianistics authentically connect Trible to a fading quality of jazz vocal, revitalizing it.
Gathering on and off the small stage for the second set, Littleton began the familiar bass line to their signature hymn, "John Coltrane. Reklaw and Fowler picked it up, Spiegelman eased in high and sweet on tenor before rolling around his full low tone. Trible walks into the opening vocal, casually varying his delivery. He shifts easily to stratospheric improvisation. Spiegelman expresses a mellow reverence that evolves into a multiphonic flutter, resolving in dulcet tones. Reklaw fully engaged bounces around the rhythm on congas sounding happy.
An appropriately impassioned version of Abby Lincoln's "Throw It Away followed. Land delivered a gorgeous reading, but the club's PA failed amid crackling hiss. As a happy result, Trible finished the set unmiked, his big voice easily audible over the band. In that small room Trible needs amplification like a jet engine needs a megaphone. "If you can't sing without a microphone, you don't nee to be singing at all, he correctly observed.
Trible turned "Soul Eyes into a tour de force of feeling, mostly in sublime duet with Land, rhythm section easing in quietly. After Littleton's "Love Supreme intro ignited the room, Trible's marrow melting performance drew on lyrics sung as though created in the moment. Like a Moroccan trance musician, Spiegelman locked into tight slightly changing arpeggios that amped the intensity. Land jumped into a rhythm section at cruising altitude. Reklaw displayed his joyful percussion mastery, suggesting melody within every possible beat variation.
The finale, a lovely duet with Land with some input by Littleton, brought the ship down safely. Sung almost as a lullaby, "My Shining Hour had Land making the upright piano sound grand. A well deserved and sincere standing ovation sent Trible and company off to spread the Word, while eagerly awaiting their safe return.
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...