All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

4

Monterey Jazz Festival 2016

Monterey Jazz Festival 2016
Josef Woodard By

Sign in to view read count
Monterey Jazz Festival
Monterey, CA
September 16-18, 2016

In its 59th annual edition, the Monterey Jazz Festival once again delivered on its promise to bring a stylistic plethora and pageantry—with nods to more abstract or daring fare—to the Monterey County Fairgrounds. Among the marquee bragging rights: an impressive new commissioned chamber jazz piece, "The Unfolding," by Wayne Shorter; a good clean fun-making big band tribute to Quincy Jones influential soul and jazz-bridging A&M albums, a residency by increasingly bold bandleader and project-maker Terri Lyne Carrington which included a headlining set by the drummer-leader's much-acclaimed Mosaic Project. From the notable younger set of jazz players making an impact, to varying degrees, the barely-into-adolescence piano sensation Joey Alexander over-packed the Garden Stage, later lit up with the captivating aesthetic graces of flutist-vocalist Elena Pinderhughes.

Speaking of young sensations... to wrap up the festival in a circus-like burst of virtuosity and friendly grandstanding, the genuinely remarkable young Brit Jacob Collier proved the most self-reliant and athletic of performers all weekend. Following a stirring, warming set by Pat Metheny's fine new quartet (with old pal Antonio Sanchez and Metheny-world neophytes pianist Gwilym Simcock and bassist Linda May Han Oh), Collier took to the big stage by his lonesome. But the sonic fruits were anything but lean. Amidst a dense array of instruments, the 22-year-old wunderkind raced between keyboards, drum kit, guitar, bass and grand piano, to build up dazzling thickets of sound, via looping and an elaborate vocal harmonizer system. As YouTube visitors know, his version of "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing" is a brain-teasing wonder, especially exciting when witnessed live, and likewise, his post-modern trickster take on the Gershwin-ia of "Fascinating Rhythm" was rather mind-blowing. Still, we wonder about what the future holds for a jazz artist so wrapped up in the one man band game, in a genre celebrating conversation and cross-fire. In the end, fireworks notwithstanding, the show felt a tad lonesome.

A few of my personal wow moments in the margins included catching the new (yet old soulful) Still Dreaming—a tribute to the Old and New Dreams band (itself a tribute to Ornette Coleman's acoustic band), respectfully rendered by late saxophonist Dewey Redman's son Joshua, the late Charlie Haden protégé Scott Colley, Don Cherry-inspired cornetist Ron Miles and nimble, Billy Higgins-esque drummer Brian Blade finding their own lithe groove, colored by the band of old; the unique Billy Hart Quartet (featuring pianist Ethan Iverson and gentle giant tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, along with bassist Ben Street) on the occasion of the drummer-leader's 75th birthday year, cooking up its own savory, creative musical stew, where melodic, impressionistic and category-busting ideals meet. Another unforgettable moment: I was also entranced by young Canadian-in-New-York pianist Kris Davis' powerful, poetic and free-to-be-free trio, featuring the ever-inventive and lankily loose-limbed drummer Tom Rainey and bassist TK. With this refreshingly iconoclastic variation on the theme of piano trio conventions, we had the prize act of this Monterey fest's experimental niche.

This year's crop of piano trios making their way into the small Coffeehouse Gallery venue—where a trio will play three sets during a specific evening—was a model of balance and variety, climaxing with the Davis Trio's triumph of adventurism. Luminous pianist Sullivan Fortner's set asserted polish and heat in a mainstreaming direction, including a fascinating arrangement of the children's television classic "You are Special," by Fred Rogers (yes, that Mr. Rogers, who insisted on ushering jazz into his TV-landscape), while Stanley Cowell (emerging from his long tenure as an academician into the performance world), traversed more intellectual byways and a cool technical bravura less about flash than intellectual inquiry mixed with earthiness.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Detroit Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Detroit Jazz Festival 2018
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews
Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia 2018 Live Reviews
Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia...
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood Vampires, Black Asteroids & Paul Lamb Live Reviews
Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood...
by Martin Longley
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe Live Reviews
Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe
by Chris May
Published: September 15, 2018
Read 12 Points 2018 Live Reviews
12 Points 2018
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 14, 2018
Read "Marbin at The Firmament" Live Reviews Marbin at The Firmament
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 15, 2018
Read "Lisa Bjorange at Bullret Jazz Club" Live Reviews Lisa Bjorange at Bullret Jazz Club
by Patrick Burnette
Published: February 2, 2018
Read "Berlin Jazzfest 2017" Live Reviews Berlin Jazzfest 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: November 13, 2017
Read "Burlington Discover Jazz Festival 2018" Live Reviews Burlington Discover Jazz Festival 2018
by Doug Collette
Published: June 13, 2018
Read "Oslo Jazz Festival 2018" Live Reviews Oslo Jazz Festival 2018
by John Sharpe
Published: August 29, 2018