Professorial night at Tulas with UW maestros Marc Seales (piano), Bill Smith (clarinet), Tom Collier (vibes). Didn’t catch the the drummer’s and bassist’s names—think one of them was faculty too. Full house, not a seat to be had, lots of students, ex-students, etc. there. Didn’t realize Smith was such a legend. He’s 87 and his pedigree is damn impressive. During the two sets, they played Smith compositions almost exclusively, tunes like “Blues For New Orleans,” “Matt,” “Hex,” and “Azmal.” Cool compositions for sure. They also played some choice standards like “Isn’t It Romantic?” and some pop interpretations, including “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor and “Anyone Who Has A Heart” by Burt Bacharach (made famous by Luther Vandross whose version Seales called out as choice). Something awesome about these profs covering easy listening pop. Collier on vibes tore it up – heck he’s the director of jazz studies at UW, taking over the spot from Seales, who had it for 20 years! His solos are wack, interpolating across the beat and generally going all kinds of directions as once. Drummer and bassist were completely on their game. Indeed school was in session.
Caught the last set of Dave Peck Dave Peck Trio with Chuck Deardorf on bass and Eric Eagle on drums. So tasteful, super melodic playing on the keys, straight up jazz, drummer trading eights and fours at the end of each tune, bassist getting a chance to shine, taxis driving by outside, Belltown doing its Friday night Belltown thing and inside Tula’s yr transported. Bet the first two sets were equally lovely.
Cool write up about the history of Tula’s here – owner is Elliot “Mack” Waldron (like the island) who was a big band leader in the navy. Thus all the big band action at Tula’s – well also cause 17 players bring in a bigger crowd than a trio. The economics of entertainment.
Dr. John did his Dr. John thing last night to a packed house at Jazz Alley. Not sure if he’s sold out for the weekend or not; if it isn’t, definitely worth checking this legend Friday or Saturday. He’s playing with an all new band of top notch players that are funky as hell. Dr. John shuffled out rocking a purple suit, sun glasses and a tooth necklace. Swapped all evening between a Nord keyboard and a grand piano (with a skull on it) doing his signature stride sound with signature singing, including weird Dr. John voodoo incantations. For one tune, he stood up and busted out an electric guitar, playing some sweet licks. No doubt, he still has guitar chops. But he really shines on the keys. (Check out this session with Mary McPartland if you want to geek out on jazz piano.) He played obscure stuff and the hits, including “Right Place,” “Such A Night,” “Good Night Irene,” “Iko Iko,” “Let The Good Times Roll,” “How Come My Dog Don’t Bark” plus a bunch off his most recent record.
The backing band, comprised of Sarah Morrow (trombone), Bobby Floyd (organ), Joel Johnson (guitar), Dwight Bailey (bass) and Reggie Jackson (drums), was stellar. You could tell they were new to the tunes and arrangements, which was cool, cause you could literally watch them as they found the grooves and enjoyed the changes. They were all monster players, but subservient to what each song needed. Jackson on drums was dialed in, never overplaying, laying down the backbeat, occasionally bustin out, especially with Johnson on guitar, whose solos ventured into weird jazz territory often, when he didn’t play it straight. Would love to see these two in a different context, bet they’d shred. Overall, the whole set was just damn professional, the way the songs were arranged and rendered. Great night.
Posted by flotz
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 |
Saw Hardcoretet at the Royal Room last fall and was mesmerized. Turns out they’ve got a record out that dropped in December 2012 called Do It Live. Definitely worth checking out. The drummer, Tarik Abouzied, is also the drummer in McTuff and provides the same drive and taste. The compositions are super compelling and the sound itself is lush with the electric keys and electric bass. Something hypnotizing about them, can’t put my finger on it. Love the tune Yeti btw.
Not necessarily in any order:
Silian Rail – each/other. Emotive post rock with monster drummer and cool guitar technique. Post rock is often a let down but this is post rock at its best. Hypnotizing, rapturous, brooding and smart as hell.
Field Music – Plumb. Nominated for the Mercury Prize in the UK, this record is pop mastery in the XTC vein and is full of catchy complexity. Led to discovering the rest of their catalog, which is all as good as this.
Kelly Hogan – I Like To Keep Myself In Pain. Exquisitely produced, this is alt-country at its best, with tracks written by Robyn Hitchcock, Vic Chesnutt and other luminaries, all belted out by Hogan with her signature style.
Cataldo – Prison Boxing. Local record here, officially came out in 2011, but only got turned on to it in 2012. Really pretty tracks and deceptively interesting song writing.
Matt Slocum – After The Storm. Heard him at Tula’s during Earshot Jazz and this CD has been in constant rotation in the car. Imminently tasteful.