What a combination! Tuba, alto saxophone and percussion. The trio adds harmonica on five tracks for a wider scope, but the impression is a lasting one: three outcats swinging on a star and creating aural landscapes. Tunes dedicated to people, places and great ideas leave no doubt when the music swings.
Similar in aim to the AACM, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, Kingcake plays free and loose. They interact with considerable cohesion; like longtime friends who know each other’s moves. Free improvisation can easily become dry and lifeless without the swing. Scot Ray lays down a New Orleans strut step, Brad Dutz fills that in with congas and various toe-tapping devices, while Matt Zebley weaves lyrical melodies. Bill Barrett’s blues harp lends a comfortable air to the session with vocal-like expression and a laid-back ease. Full of life and rooted in the New Orleans tradition, Kingcake finds a way to tie together the beginning and end of our first jazz century. Traditional tunes "Ja Da" and "A Closer Walk With Thee" ring familiar. A loose bass drum, light drum sticks on a modest kit, doubled octaves from clarinet and tuba swing "up a lazy river" and back down to the source of jazz.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.