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...

8

Tim Warfield’s All-Star Jazzy Christmas at Tempe Center for the Arts

Patricia Myers By

Sign in to view read count
Tim Warfield's All-Star Jazzy Christmas
Tempe Center for the Arts
Tempe, Arizona
December 20, 2014

A top-level East Coast jazz sextet performed a concert that reinvented holiday-season favorites with jazzy improvisations as part of the monthly Lakeshore Music series. Saxophonist Tim Warfield led a strong contingent that featured trumpeter Terell Stafford, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, pianist Cyrus Chestnut, bassist Rodney Whitaker and drummer Chris Beck, plus guest vocalist Joanna Pascale.

The program included traditional, religious and pop charts, from "O Christmas Tree" and "Silent Night" to "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and "Let It Snow," each chart reinvented to showcase the ensemble. Warfield created this touring seasonal program several years ago, and in 2012 recorded Tim Warfield's Jazzy Christmas. Sparked by the two strong horn players, the arrangements were newly bright and far less trite than the originals, and the audience in the sold-out house obviously enjoyed the remakes.

Warfield alternated between tenor and soprano saxophones, fiery on tenor, often delivering staccato-punctuated phrases, his soprano style more chromatic and angular. Stafford's solos enhanced each style with bright solo streams and floods of triplets, interchanging trumpet and flugelhorn related to the mood he wanted to convey.

Harris repeatedly let loose with blazing two-and four-mallet bebop progressions that were blurs to behold. While staying true to the melody progressions, he was ferociously powerful and fiercely inventive. Whitaker and Beck filled the roles of steady-Freddys, underpinning and reinforcing the fresh dissections of age-old charts. Pascale proved to be a song stylist with an impressive range, taking the familiar and simple melodies into a new dimension.

Chestnut's solos were alternately lightning-fast or deeply rich, his muscular piano prowess a captivating sight. At times, his formidable left-hand rendered a reworked melody line, and then his right would blaze along the piano's treble range in clusters of 16th and 32nd notes. The unbilled star of the show was the 9-foot Ravenscroft grand piano, built locally by Spreeman Piano Innovations, taking more than 1,000 hours to construct from imported woods and titanium parts. The resulting sound was a singing treble, clear midrange and lush bass tones that emitted an exceptional range of dynamics. The piano was donated to the arts center by pianist The Bob Ravenscroft Trio and his wife, Gretchen, via their Jazzbird Foundation.

The monthly series continues through May, producer Woody Wilson booking both national and international artists, including the piano duo of Renee Rosnes and Bill Charlap next on Feb. 28.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Date Detail Price
Apr12Fri
19:30
Tim Warfield's Organ Band
The Ware Center
Lancaster, PA
$25

Related Articles

Read Jazz Migration 2018 Live Reviews
Jazz Migration 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: December 13, 2018
Read Bessie Smith Empress of the Blues Tribute at The Cabot Live Reviews
Bessie Smith Empress of the Blues Tribute at The Cabot
by Doug Hall
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Joe Gransden's Big Band At Cafe 290 Live Reviews
Joe Gransden's Big Band At Cafe 290
by Martin McFie
Published: December 9, 2018
Read U2 at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin Live Reviews
U2 at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 9, 2018
Read David Johansen at The Space at Westbury Live Reviews
David Johansen at The Space at Westbury
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: December 9, 2018
Read Joshua Bowlus Trio at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews
Joshua Bowlus Trio at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: December 8, 2018
Read "Flow Festival 2018" Live Reviews Flow Festival 2018
by Anthony Shaw
Published: August 14, 2018
Read "Baku Jazz Festival 2018" Live Reviews Baku Jazz Festival 2018
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 13, 2018
Read "JazzNorway in a Nutshell 2018" Live Reviews JazzNorway in a Nutshell 2018
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 2, 2018
Read "Supersonic 2018" Live Reviews Supersonic 2018
by Martin Longley
Published: October 23, 2018
Read "Dave Holland Residency at SFJAZZ" Live Reviews Dave Holland Residency at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: April 9, 2018
Read "Jazz Sur Son 31 2018" Live Reviews Jazz Sur Son 31 2018
by Luke Seabright
Published: October 26, 2018