Monday, September 02, 2013

Detroit Jazz Festival - Monday

Well, I made the final walk of the season from Hart Plaza (where the festival stages are located) back to the Marriott. The next time I leave the premises, I'll be in a shuttle headed to the airport tomorrow. Kinda bittersweet. I went up to my room to get the laptop (because there's only free wireless in the lobby, where I am now) and on the way past the front desk I ran into Lee Konitz. Last night I told Jennie that if I crossed paths with him, I'd tell him that I love him.

I didn't.

But I did tell him I love his work. And that he was great tonight. I do love him, by the way. If you see him, tell him.

JazzTimes hosted a great talk this afternoon about the history of Detroit, with James Carter, JD Allen, Geri Allen and George Bohannon talking about growing up here, what the school atmosphere was like, how they were exposed to all kinds of music. It was a great talk, but I had to split to catch most of Quest's set. Mssrs. Liebman and Beirach were at it again, this time with bassist Ron McClure and drummer Billy Hart in tow. During "Redial," Liebman seemed so swept up in Beirach's piano solo that he leaned his head back into the piano (he was sitting at the time). The saxophonist blew my mind when I recognized that melody he was playing on the bamboo flute - a slow, deliberate version of Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman."

Terrell Stafford's quintet was the epitome of tightness. Solid chops, good arrangements. Plus they were doing Billy Strayhorn tunes. But it wasn't anything that I haven't heard before: head, horn solo, piano solo, bass solo, trading fours with the drums. They were good but it made me restless. So I trekked back up Woodward to the stage where the Robert Glasper Experiment was scheduled to play.

I didn't dig the Glasper crew's album but they sounded great on the Lettermen show so I thought I'd give them another chance. I wish I had given Stafford more time because Glasper was way late setting up. I only got to hear two songs. Glasper introduced the first as Bette Midler's "The Rose." After a couple seconds he said he was only kidding. A couple people in the crowd had gotten excited and he had to razz them about that. The first song was okay, groovy and repetitive but it made me want to hear TV on the The Radio. When Casey Benjamin stopped doing the vocoder singing and picked up the alto - which was going through a harmonizer that added an extra note - things started to take off. Unfortunately I did too, because I had to see Konitz.

Glad I did. It was pretty astounding how he can not only take standards and make them new, he makes them brand new songs. He probably draws from a set of about 10 songs but I swear they're different each time. His tone is so vocal and romantic - definitely not schmaltzy as he stated yesterday. I love "Out of Nowhere" anyway, but hearing him and Tepfer play Lennie Tristano's "317 East 32nd Street" really blew me away. Ray Drummond was a solid bassist and Matt Wilson was a great accompanist and slight humorist, playing with two brushes and one stick during "Body and Soul" or something like that. If only the sun hadn't been so damn hot.

There were a few shows that closed the evening out, but I decided to torture my backside and stay on the stone steps of the Absopure Pyramid Stage and catch Marcus Belgrave's Trumpet Call. Belgrave is a longtime Detroit fixture (though I didn't realize until tonight that he wasn't born here.) Since mentoring and remembering roots seemed to be a recurring theme all weekend, I figured this gravelly voiced guru was the person to wrap up the festival for me.

Not only did he have six trumpets (including himself) paying homage to Pops, Dizzy, Thad Jones and Clifford Brown, he had plenty of long stories to add between the songs. I'm not judging. Definitely not hating because it was cool hearing about what happened when Belgrave crossed paths with Bud Powell and worked with Clifford Brown before Brownie became the amazing player that he was.

The only damper to the whole day was that after being here all this time, I finally decided to take my discman with me, and listen to music as I walked around. Sure enough, the first place I stopped, I dropped in on the concrete and messed up the face of it, so I can't see what track is on or how much time is left. Sure it plays, but without that info, it might as well be broken. Oh well.

Time for some hooch before I get ready for a 7:15 lobby call.

1 comment:

Mando Mama said...

The problem with old fashioned blogging: no "like" button.

Love your work, Mike!