Melissa Aldana and Lionel Loueke at Charlie Parker Jazz Festival

Ernest Barteldes By

Sign in to view read count
Melissa Aldana and Lionel Loueke
Summerstage at Charlie Parker Jazz Festival
Marcus Garvey Park
New York, NY
August 23, 2014

Playing before a packed audience at Harlem's Marcus Garvey Park, Chilean saxophonist Melissa Aldana made her Charlie Parker Jazz Festival debut backed by a piano-less trio rounded out by Pablo Menares (bass) and Francisco Mela (drums), kicking off with a down-tempo take on George Gershwin's "I Loves You Porgy" in which the bandleader took advantage of the blank spaces left in the music to improvise. She followed with the original "Alegria,"a Mela composition that began with an extended drum solo, followed by a long saxophone crescendo. The tune evolved into a very syncopated piece, once again using empty spaces left by no instruments playing chords to fill in with improvised notes and beats.

The short set's greatest highlight came with the original "Back Home," a tune Aldana said was inspired by the work of Sonny Rollins. It started with a 6/8 tempo and then evolved into a swinging, bluesy mode that motivated many of the audience members to get up and dance in front of the stage. The tune featured a skillful drum solo that kept everyone moving, and the band wrapped things up to great applause.

After a short break, Benin-born guitarist Lionel Loueke came on, backed by bass and drums, kicking off the set with a tune that had a bit of a contemporary bossa feel. Loueke plays with incredible fluidity, doing mostly chord and arpeggio-based solos with a clear West African vibe.

During another moment, he sang along with his guitar lines, doing some percussive mouth "clicks" in between beats, complementing the work of the drummer. In one of the best moments, he first challenged the bassist by playing chords in odd tempos and having his band member follow him—then doing the same with the drums, and it was a breathtaking exercise in creativity.

Other performers on the bill for the evening were pianist Kris Bowers and trumpeter Wallace Roney, who closed the evening with his orchestra.


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Herbie Hancock at the Gaillard Center Music Hall Live Reviews Herbie Hancock at the Gaillard Center Music Hall
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Redwood City Salsa Festival 2017 Live Reviews Redwood City Salsa Festival 2017
by Walter Atkins
Published: October 17, 2017
Read AJAZZGO Festival in Cali, Colombia Live Reviews AJAZZGO Festival in Cali, Colombia
by Mark Holston
Published: October 13, 2017
Read "Pharoah Sanders at SFJAZZ" Live Reviews Pharoah Sanders at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: October 5, 2017
Read "Charles Lloyd Quartet at Vicar Street" Live Reviews Charles Lloyd Quartet at Vicar Street
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 28, 2016
Read "Mat Maneri and Lucian Ban at Barbès" Live Reviews Mat Maneri and Lucian Ban at Barbès
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 7, 2017
Read "Antonio Sanchez Group at Jazz Standard" Live Reviews Antonio Sanchez Group at Jazz Standard
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2017
Read "European Jazz Conference 2017" Live Reviews European Jazz Conference 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: October 2, 2017
Read "Lance Canales & The Flood At Biscuits & Blues" Live Reviews Lance Canales & The Flood At Biscuits & Blues
by Walter Atkins
Published: June 27, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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