Sean Jones ends jazz month with funky Cabaret performance
In a Jazz Appreciation Month series dedicated to “Diggin' Deep,” trumpeter Sean Jones dug the deepest.
The series of concerts at the Cabaret Theater ended April 30 with Jones doing his second look at “Jazz Meets Funk,” and once again showing how deep the connection can be. He and bassist Dwayne Dolphin examined this hybrid in 2010, but with Dolphin out of town for the event, Jones put together a band that did the job just as well, perhaps better.
It was a concert that ranged from Jones's own “Chillin' at the Grill” to Jaco Pastorius' “The Chicken,” a masterpiece of funk-jazz that the band spent 20 minutes examining.
“Chillin' at the Grill” was Jones' successful attempt at merging the melodies of Duke Ellington with a more modern rhythm sound.
What made the concert a success was the band Jones assembled. It was built around him, drummer Poogie Bell and keyboardist Brett Williams, who will be playing with Marcus Miller this summer and whose play insists that jazz fans need to be aware of him.
But the band also featured saxophonist Tony Watson Jr. and bassist Walter Barnes, whose work was a dominant force through the night. Barnes, for instance, laid down bass lines that drove virtually every piece, standing their own on “The Chicken” and also getting a great spot on Bell's “Hard to Find.” Jones said the performance of “Hard to Find” was its first live performance.
But the songs and their versions were secondary to the wonderful play of the band. From Bell's first introductory passages to “The Chicken” through Kenny Garrett's “Wayne's Thing,” the band created a sound that was one of jazz meeting funk. Jones played with the power his fans expect, but in a soulful way far different from his work with bebop or hard-bop tunes.
Watson, similarly, created King Curtis-like solos that soared through the soulful pieces. The only drawback to his work was most of his tenor work was linked to some sort of pedal device, creating a sound that was not pure saxophone. His work on alto was purer.
Barnes was remarkable in the bass lines he created. He set a rhythmic force, but also added harmonic and rhythmic touches that extended each piece.
Of course, Jones' playing is not to be ignored. From statements that hinted at the “Grand Canyon Suite” or his funk-ridden lines, Jones gave a new life to all of this music.
It was an appropriate way to end the monthlong series.
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.
- 4 works couldn’t be more different in PSO performance
- Singer Lisa Fischer still pushing to discover her voice
- PSO’s FUSE director widens music audience
- Marsha Ambrosius has strong vision of her musical voice
- Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra serves up four composers: Greenwood, Rodrigo, Stravinsky and Ravel
- Pope to release rock album