25 October 2013

whaling oops

So...perhaps there's something about October, much as I claim it as Blog Month's rightful calendrical home, that makes it difficult for me to make good on the project's greatest challenge. Perhaps being cloistered in a big kid art school dorm, confined to the same 2 minute walks between front door, practice room, and library, actually presented a more manageable scenario for daily blogging than the life of a freelance musician or transitioning recent graduate. Whatev. This year in particular, if it's not already obvious, has seen the conceit of daily blogging more or less dispensed with anyway in favor of the mere illusion of it. In other words, I work on these things in large chunks and well ahead of time, then clean them up in a flash of light on days when I have nothing better to say and before dumping them on you'all. Today, though, in place of yesterday, I will write off the cuff.

Last night I went to the Blue Whale to hear the Mark Dresser Quintet. The leader likely needs no introduction, but the band might, and you'll be pleased to make their acquaintance.

Saxophonist Ben Schachter emailed me a few years ago after finding his way to my website while searching for jazz tuba players. This was my first chance to hear him play live. He is a burning player with a striking tone, bright but warm and filling the room at every dynamic.

I first made the acquaintance of trombonist Michael Dessen at the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute last year. I've since heard him at the Whale a couple of times. Crazy chops; a rare ability and willingness, for someone with such a strong, bright sound (he and Ben make for quite a tonally unified front line) to alter his tone with varying degrees of airiness; and he plays with an F attachment, which I wish more trombonists would consider in this kind of setting (truthfully we all know why they don't; Michael has the chops, though).

I have heard pianist Joshua White many times at the Whale. Do not miss the chance to hear him if he ever comes to your area. Trust me. Until now, I'd heard him only on standard material and in the company of peers, but he didn't miss a beat here either. It's kind of scary.

Drummer Kjell Nordeson, native of Sweden and current student in the Integrative Studies program at UCSD, tied the whole thing together beautifully. Dresser's music has more than its fair share of twists and turns, including metric modulations, and in these hands they were always musically effective. There was swinging, there was burning, there was math, and there was freedom.

To summarize, can't really overstate how nice it is to have music of this quality happening locally, affordably, and most of all, frequently. I'm more excited about live music than I've been in a long time. So I'm going back tonight. Catch you'all on the other side of that.

No comments: