Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Jazz the way it should be

The best way to experience jazz music has to be live in a New York City jazz club. It just doesn't get any better. Live, up-close and personal. The Jazz Standard is just one of those places. Get there an hour or so early, and it is easy to grab a table a few short feet from the stage. Sunday evening, June 29 we experienced the George Coleman Quintet with special guest Eric Alexander. These are two killer tenor sax players. Coleman (71 yrs), one of the all-time masters of the tenor, who has played with the greatest jazz artists of all-time, including being a member of the Miles Davis Quintet (with the dubious distinction of being replaced by Wayne Shorter), Jimmy Smith, Dizzy, Lee Morgan, Max Roach, and more. Eric Alexander is one of the great young talents and powerful players on jazz scene today.

Their contrasting styles made for an incredible evening of jazz music. Eric Alexander is a superb technician with amazing chops. He has a powerful, lush sounding horn with which he played perfect solos throughout the evening. George Coleman had a more fluid yet raw playing style, but his ideas stretched the compositions to new directions, taking his solos to places you didn't expect him to go.  I won't soon forget the great piano playing of Harold Mabern, another grand master of his instrument that has graced the jazz scene for 40 years or more. His playing was simply amazing, and he has played with both these gentleman for each of their entire careers.

I even snuck-in a short video clip, though the manager came over and warned me to stop using the camera. Here it is, I hope it gives you a little feel for what the evening was like.

George Coleman ts, Eric Alexander ts, Harold Mabern p, John Webber b, George Coleman Jr. d.