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...


Zane Musa Quintet at Descanso Gardens

Craig Jolley By

Sign in to view read count
Zane Musa Quintet
Descanso Gardens
La Canada, California
April 30, 2005

A one-time student of the late Gordon Brisker, Zane Musa is here with his own voice on alto. For this one-off outdoor concert he assembled a challenging band of beyond bebop players older than himself. Descanso Gardens is a lovely, peaceful setting for lyrical music, and the acoustics aren't bad. Both horns played without amplification, allowing them to sound more natural and direct than in a club.
I heard Musa a few years ago playing devastating free music he definitely knew the ins and outs of. There is still plenty of urgency and unpredictability in his playing, but lately he reaches back to the old-time blues players for depth. Musa began and ended "Angel Eyes with unaccompanied frenzies that occasionally referenced the theme. He recalled that haunting 1950's sound during his main solo on the piece. Halfway through "No Greater Love he suddenly launched into a rocking double-note spray with ideas and runs bursting out almost uncontrolled, dramatically lifting the piece. He did the same thing on "The Theme ("I Got Rhythm ) to lesser effect, but the rest of his solo was especially musical with continually fresh melodic and rhythmic variations.
Nolan Shaheed approached his flugelhorn with a focused, trumpet-like attack, choosing not to explore the larger horn's warmer sound. He took his best conceived solo on the rhythmic blues "Straight, No Chaser. His ballads also came out blues-tinged, and he picked up the tempos as his ballad solos unfolded. A team player, he particularly responded to cues from the rhythm players, played complimentary exchanges with the drums, and generally exuded enthusiasm for the music. He ended his "Softly improvisation with a morse code motive Musa worked out of to kick off his own solo.
Larry Fuller's primary instrument is acoustic piano, but he did not seem hamstrung with electric, blending into the ensemble with an organic intent instead of treating his instrument like a sythesizer. He did seem to play more single note lines than he usually does (He loves to quote from other tunes.), but his masterful piano technique was present with some block chord and parallel octave passages that came through with clarity. Fuller substituted Wes Montgomery's "West Coast Blues as his point of departure on "All Blues, a piece that concluded with extended simultaneous improv by Shaheed and Musa over military drums.

Personnel: Zane Musa - alto, Nolan Shaheed - flugelhorn, Larry Fuller - electric piano, John Heard - bass, Clarence Johnson - drums

Visit Zane Musa on the web.


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Liberty Ellman Trio at Crescent Arts Centre Live Reviews
Liberty Ellman Trio at Crescent Arts Centre
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Tallinn Music Week 2018 Live Reviews
Tallinn Music Week 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: April 19, 2018
Read James Blood Ulmer and the Thing at Bochum Art Museum Live Reviews
James Blood Ulmer and the Thing at Bochum Art Museum
by Phillip Woolever
Published: April 17, 2018
Read Jocelyn Medina at Jazz at Kitano Live Reviews
Jocelyn Medina at Jazz at Kitano
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 16, 2018
Read Marbin at The Firmament Live Reviews
Marbin at The Firmament
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 15, 2018
Read Big Ears Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Big Ears Festival 2018
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 13, 2018
Read "Alfa Jazz Fest 2017" Live Reviews Alfa Jazz Fest 2017
by Thomas Conrad
Published: July 11, 2017
Read "Boston Roundup: Larry Carlton, Brit Floyd, and Doyle Bramhall" Live Reviews Boston Roundup: Larry Carlton, Brit Floyd, and Doyle...
by Dave Dorkin
Published: December 20, 2017
Read "The NJE at Indo, Whitechapel" Live Reviews The NJE at Indo, Whitechapel
by Gareth Thompson
Published: February 5, 2018
Read "Tierney Sutton Band at the Newman Center" Live Reviews Tierney Sutton Band at the Newman Center
by Geoff Anderson
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "Mark Hagan's Jazz Salon At The Old 76 House" Live Reviews Mark Hagan's Jazz Salon At The Old 76 House
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 27, 2017