Jack DeJohnette is proverbial different drummer
Jack DeJohnette is the proverbial different drummer.
Not only does he lift the performance of percussion several notches in his work, but that level of play also elevates to music the bands produce.
At two concerts March 2 at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild on the North Side, he guided a quintet through hard-working and challenging performances. These were not concerts with easy renditions on well known songs. They were not sessions in which the listeners could sit back and let the music ease over them.
And there were only four tunes, and an encore, in the first set, meaning these were numbers that were explored.
DeJohnette offered pieces that changed moods and tempos. They were pieces in which players took on different jobs in different pieces. In “Tango Africaine,” for instance, Tim Reis offered a soprano sax solo while bassist Jerome Harris did a wordless vocal and keyboardist George Colligan added syncopated, rhythmic clapping.
All the while, though, DeJohnette was putting together creative drum explorations that looked at all aspects of his kit. At one point in that number, he moved down and back across his four cymbals, creating a shimmering sound in four levels of tone.
In “Blue,” while Colligan played a solo on a tiny pocket trumpet, DeJohnette let guitarist Lionel Loueke and Harris accompany him, tossing in an occasional bash on the cymbal hit by his hand.
In the middle of “One for Eric,” dedicated to sax player Eric Dolphy, the drummer flipped his right stick so he could have a heavier end to attack his cymbals. And in “Priestesses in the Mist,” he used mallets to created a softer tone, but then stroked those mallets across the drumheads for yet another sound. In that piece, he also explored other metal pieces on his kit, finally moving to a subtle look at his cowbell.
Such is the work of John DeJohnette.
The other members of the group also provided good solos and ensemble work. Colligan, who sat amid two electric keyboards and the Guild's grand piano, put together his best work on the latter. His solo on “One for Eric” started off simply, perhaps even disappointing, but grew to a dramatic finish that drew cheers.
Loueke was the best of his visits here. His work on “Tango Africaine” was moved from harshly metal, plucked notes to a soaring finale.
Harris did a fine job on his bass, but his voice created another tonal element that blended with Reis's saxes and Colligan's pocket trumpet.
DeJohnette and his band indeed provided a different sound worth marching to.
Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7852.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.