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Larry Kart

Chicago Jazz Fest 2017

12 posts in this topic

Coincidentally, I watched this on Roku last night and liked it more than my rational brain was telling me I should.

The guy pretty much lays the "same" solo every time out, but it's a good solo, and I really really like the way the band plays as a unit. Check out the drum kit. Bass/snare, no toms. Two cymbals + hi-hat. Sunny Murray-ish reductionist drum kit, almost. Anybody who wants to think of this as rehashed fusion, yeah, I can see that, but again, look at that drum kit and build out the esthetic from there, see if that gets you right back to fusion, even of a Steve Grossman/Stone Alliance type thing. Maybe, but not really.

Caught them at the Chicago Jazz Fest last night. To quote Jim S., "I liked it more than my rational brain was telling me I should." And boy does the band play as a unit. Especially liked the drummer, Mark Guiliana. A one hour or so set, consistently gripping. Wouldn't be surprised if some good friends of mine who I think were there just hated it. Next time I see them I'll ask.

Preceding band on the evening bill, drummer Dana Hall's Spring (reedmen Geoff Bradfield and John Wojciechowski, trumpeters/percussionists Etienne Charles and Victor Garcia, bassist Clark Summers), was in excellent form. Really hot music, very well rehearsed.

Also enjoyed vibist Stu Katz's  afternoon tribute to Shearing (with pianist Dan Trudell, guitarist Bobby Broom, bassist Dennis Carroll, drummer George Fludas).  Stu really captured the vintage Shearing quintet's hallucinatory gliding time feel, the way they made almost every piece seem like it was in long meter. Trudell was good, but it was too bad that Stu couldn't have played both vibes and piano.

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Missed all of Saturday. There was only one band I really wanted to see, Mary Halvorsen's, and when I woke up I didn't feel like driving downtown and back and spending $36 to park to catch one 50-minute set. Thought I'd be better off buying some Halvorsen CDs.

Among Sunday's highlights for me were the Jonathan Doyle Swingtet, kind of a personal variant on a Western Swing band, with two guitars used in large part as a section, compact catchy originals, a good cornetist (Dave Jellama) and trombonist (Mike Gonzales),  and Doyle about as good a tenor saxophonist  in that general vein as one could imagine -- swinging like crazy and melodically personal and inventive, he reminded me some of Dick Wilson (of Andy Kirk fame) or Julian Dash. Retro? Knowing Doyle from when he was based in Chicago some 15 years ago, I don't think so. Back then he was just following his own nose (and IIRC he came to town from Texas or Oklahoma), and certainly wasn't and isn't asking to have any badges pinned on him for playing that way; he's just doing what he digs. Lots of happy dancers to this band, quite spontaneously.

Josh Berman quintet (Darius Jones alto, Jason Roebke bass, Michael Vatcher drums).  Suddenly ( or so it seemed to me) Berman has broken through to a new level -- none of his former moments of coyness and cuteness (as charming as those could be at times), long hot lines, bouncing off of Vatcher's drumming as though they were one, Jones an ideal and often brilliant partner. In a nutshell, I think Josh is a player who had  developed an effective and quite individual "style," but a style with limits; to that he now more or less has said "screw it --I'm going for more," though without in any way trashing his former musical self. More like a butterfly-chrysalis thing. Very heartening. A terrific set. Hope to heck this band records. Also, Roebke was just a beast.

Louis Moholo-Moholo's 5 Blokes: For me a little went a long way. Saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings seemed to play the same folksy, hymn-like motifs throughout. Alexander Hawkins was a bright spot.

Roscoe Mitchell: So shoot me, but I was disappointed. One long rather dour and mostly low-key piece, Roscoe soloing, when he did, on sopranino at his most squiggly. I was close to the stage and found it hard to pay full attention; can't imagine that it was effective for the  good-sized crowd out there on the lawn. Alvin Fielder's drumming in solo and support was a highlight.

Sheila Jordan: Sounded as good as ever at age 88! With Steve Kuhn, bassist David Wong, and Billy Drummond. 

Couldn't face Matt Wilson's Honey and Salt/tribute to Carl Sandburg band, and  hadno interest in Rebirth Brass Band, so I headed home.

To repeat the obvious, the above opinions are mine alone.

1 hour ago, Larry Kart said:

 

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Larry - so sorry not to get the opportunity to say hello! I agree with you on Josh's set - I thought it was completely fantastic. Of course each of the four sounded brilliant individually, but they had a *band* sound too. And I really liked the compositions.

For my part, I adored the Roscoe set - though by the time we'd finished ours, we only caught a little over half, I think..!

Edited by Alexander Hawkins

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Carl Sandburg? Oi, worst poet with a reputation. Other than that, I am jealous of those of you living in Chicago.

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The cat creeps in on foggy feet, it gets on its haunches and shits and then looks at you. And then it moves on, because cats don't give a fuck.

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very much enjoyed Roscoe's set!

Edited by uli

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Quite a festival, one of  the best of the century. I missed Donny McCaslin, otherwise I mostly liked the same things Larry liked. Plus Dave Rempis's red-hot band playing Jackie McLean; Jason Stein's trio,Jason was really inspired that day; Alison Miller's group, especially Myra Melford and Kirk Knuffke. Plus I always enjoy those South African oldies that Louis Moholo-Moholo's Blokes played - I thought Shabaka Hutchings was just right in the Dudu Pukwana role and the other  3 Blokes were on fire. Roscoe's music is always a favorite, though his Tribute To Nessa Records seemed unusually brief, or maybe compressed on Sunday. With Mary  Halvorson's band, Ingrid Laubrock's tenor solos provided a necessary complex tough-guy energy - she was at her best even if she didn't stretch out. I'm leaving out some other goodies, too.

Saturday night at Constellation was a blast, with the house band and at least half of the good guys from the Saturday and Sunday shows. One high point came in the midst of the freely improvising madness, when Kidd Jordan managed to discipline most of the gang just long enough to play a duet with Alexander Hawkins.

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2 hours ago, johnblitweiler said:

Quite a festival, one of  the best of the century. I missed Donny McCaslin, otherwise I mostly liked the same things Larry liked. Plus Dave Rempis's red-hot band playing Jackie McLean; Jason Stein's trio,Jason was really inspired that day; Alison Miller's group, especially Myra Melford and Kirk Knuffke. Plus I always enjoy those South African oldies that Louis Moholo-Moholo's Blokes played - I thought Shabaka Hutchings was just right in the Dudu Pukwana role and the other  3 Blokes were on fire. Roscoe's music is always a favorite, though his Tribute To Nessa Records seemed unusually brief, or maybe compressed on Sunday. With Mary  Halvorson's band, Ingrid Laubrock's tenor solos provided a necessary complex tough-guy energy - she was at her best even if she didn't stretch out. I'm leaving out some other goodies, too.

Saturday night at Constellation was a blast, with the house band and at least half of the good guys from the Saturday and Sunday shows. One high point came in the midst of the freely improvising madness, when Kidd Jordan managed to discipline most of the gang just long enough to play a duet with Alexander Hawkins.

Wow!!

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6 hours ago, Alexander Hawkins said:

Larry - so sorry not to get the opportunity to say hello! I agree with you on Josh's set - I thought it was completely fantastic. Of course each of the four sounded brilliant individually, but they had a *band* sound too. And I really liked the compositions.

For my part, I adored the Roscoe set - though by the time we'd finished ours, we only caught a little over half, I think..!

Bought a copy of your "Unit[e]" at the Fest. Haven't listened yet but will do ASAP. About Roscoe's set, I may inadvertently have been measuring it against some 50 years of life-changing Roscoe performances. Wanted to catch some of the after-Fest events but body and mind weren't up to it, especially when the Fest listening begins around noon.

 

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I thought Roscoe's set was dandy - he had 50 minutes to present music spanning 52 years of his life and presented a suite giving each member of the two quartets a space to shine. Fred Berry was a big surprise to many of the folks I spoke with. He had two shots - one on flugelhorn (lovely sound) and the other on trumpet.

Just got home - more tomorrow.

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4 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

-Fest events but body and mind weren't up to it, especially when the Fest listening begins around noon.

 

yeah around noon is normally when i take my first nap of the day. but i made it to two noon shows and am happy i did. the Curtis Prince band with ari brown was absolutely the perfect way to open the fest for me on Thursday. and    i went to hear Charles Heath. quartet

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16 hours ago, johnblitweiler said:

Quite a festival, one of  the best of the century. I missed Donny McCaslin, otherwise I mostly liked the same things Larry liked. Plus Dave Rempis's red-hot band playing Jackie McLean; Jason Stein's trio,Jason was really inspired that day; Alison Miller's group, especially Myra Melford and Kirk Knuffke. Plus I always enjoy those South African oldies that Louis Moholo-Moholo's Blokes played - I thought Shabaka Hutchings was just right in the Dudu Pukwana role and the other  3 Blokes were on fire. Roscoe's music is always a favorite, though his Tribute To Nessa Records seemed unusually brief, or maybe compressed on Sunday. With Mary  Halvorson's band, Ingrid Laubrock's tenor solos provided a necessary complex tough-guy energy - she was at her best even if she didn't stretch out. I'm leaving out some other goodies, too.

Saturday night at Constellation was a blast, with the house band and at least half of the good guys from the Saturday and Sunday shows. One high point came in the midst of the freely improvising madness, when Kidd Jordan managed to discipline most of the gang just long enough to play a duet with Alexander Hawkins.

Really fantastic to meet you, John! It was a total thrill to hear guys like Kidd and Douglas Ewart 'in the flesh', let alone to get to play a little with them.

14 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

Bought a copy of your "Unit[e]" at the Fest. Haven't listened yet but will do ASAP. About Roscoe's set, I may inadvertently have been measuring it against some 50 years of life-changing Roscoe performances. Wanted to catch some of the after-Fest events but body and mind weren't up to it, especially when the Fest listening begins around noon.

 

Thanks so much for picking that up, Larry - I hope you enjoy it!

I completely take your point about Roscoe. Obviously over here, we get precious few opportunities to hear him (relatively speaking), so I suppose for my part I'd be cloth-eared not to take it all in/lap it up!

Edited by Alexander Hawkins

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