They play @jazz_alley every year. Lucky Seattle. Rightfully dubbed all stars. Consider the folks they’ve collectively played with: Blood, Sweat and Tears, Miles Davis, Jaco Pastorius, Billy Cobham, James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, Parliament-Funkadelic, Frank Sinatra, Steely Dan, David Sanborn, Horace Silver, Frank Zappa, John Mayer, Sting, Steely Dan, James Taylor, Donald Fagen, Walter Becker, Diana Ross, Faith Hill, The Blues Brothers Band, Leni Stern, David Johansen and the Harry Smiths, Richard Bona, Chris Botti, Wayne Krantz, Rudder, Harry Belafonte, Oz Noy, Larry Carlton, Clay Aiken, Rascal Flatts, Paula Abdul and Grover Washington Jr., Dizzy Gillespie, Pat Metheny, Chaka Khan, Roberta Flack, Chick Corea. Damn.
They served it up to a packed Tuesday house at Jazz Alley, both floors nearly full. (The top booths are a pretty sweet incidentally.) Played about five songs that each lasted 15 minutes, odysseys and long solos, musicians really got to explore. First cut was “Out of the Blue” then followed by “Avenue B.” Didn’t catch the name of any other tunes. Third song was very major scale sounding, maybe a little mixolydian.
Stern was playing his signature Yahama guitar with Boss pedals (digital delay and overdrive) run through a Yamaha XPS 90 and then pushed to dual Fender Twin reverbs. See here for more on his set up. Great sound, killer tone and of course sweet technique. He did a lot of vocalizing with the melody, also some cool digital delay moments, and of course blistering, expressive solos mixed with some super pretty moments.
Bassist Anthony Jackson pioneered the six string bass, which he calls the contrabass guitar. super cool to see in action. Quite a range on the instrument tonally. It is tuned B-E-A-D-G-C. He did a lot of chording and played the hell out of it. Fun to watch him play too.
The drummer Keith Carlock was mesmerizing. Pushing the band with the beat and taking insane solos. He had two snare drums; similar set up as Steve Smith.
Overall, a great show. They kept it dynamic, lots of different modes and styles, musician configurations, just killer jazz fusion show. Catch their second show tonight!