It was friggin' awesome. We had the best seats in the house, right at the stage. Piano left, Sax centre, drums right. Our feet resting on the stage. Place didn't look like it changed much since I last visited 40+ years ago.
James Francies has a left hand I used to dream I had but didn't. He was played left hand bass on a synth and soloed on another synth with the right. Complete independence. Except for blistering tutti breaks with both hands. Paul Bley spoke about playing a synthesizer at the Vanguard in the 1960's and never being invited back. I guess they got over it.
Christ Potter was Chris Potter, unsurpassed skill.
Eric Harland is truly a drummer for the new century. No spang a lang for him. Two high hat set ups plus a high hat stack. Small strange cymbal combos, four pedals behind the kit. One highlight among many was his drum ensemble work. One man, one kit sounding like drum circle of world class drummers having a party.
I've been enjoying "Breakfast with Vinnie!" a podcast with the incomparable Vinnie Colaiuta. I'm now all fired up to hit the practice room. Listen here: https://breakfastwithvinnie.com/
Master musicians serve the music, amateurs insist the music serves them. There is honour in both, but amateurs must guard against mistaking which group they are in.
Last night I experienced both. Jazz Bistro with Mark Esinman? Served the music and audience. Professional display of skill and experience. Wonderful!
Jazz session with college students later in the evening? Grandstanding and showboating. A different experience. How does one make the transition from this to the later? They were fun to play with none the less.
I suggest they start with not smoking so much dope. Yikes!
David Story: Professional pianist, drummer, composer, and educator. Well into his 4th enthusiastic musical decade, David works with adults pursuing musical dreams in the autumn of life, while he maintains an active presence in the Toronto arts scene.