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Aaron Brown

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04:37pm: Labor Day weekend music

Enjoyed a lot of live music on the weekend:

Saturday, August 30

Allegra & Randy Jackson play The Music of Led Zeppelin Went to The Music of Led Zeppelin (played by a rock band and an orchestra) with Bill. Apart from the obvious Led Zep aspect, this was an attraction for us because the singer (and acoustic guitarist) was Randy Jackson -- not the American Idol judge, but the singer and guitarist of Zebra, a rock band whose main albums were recorded in the 80s, and who Bill and I were both fans of before we met each other. Randy has taken good care of his voice, and can hit all the high notes he could more than two decades ago. The whole show was great; I was also particularly impressed with electric guitarist George Cintron.

Sunday, August 31

Detroit Jazz Festival logo Day three (day one for me) of the 2008 Detroit International Jazz Festival at Hart Plaza. I saw part or all of the following:

  • Pat Martino interviewed by Tony Mowod. (I was hoping to see Martino's performance, but due to a variety of factors, most under my control, I didn't get there in time.) As an interview subject, he avoided nuts-and-bolts subjects like guitar makes and playing techniques, and emphasized the nonmusical. For instance, in response to a question about musicians who had influenced him, he mentioned Wes Montgomery and John Coltrane, but said they had both influenced him much more as human beings than as musicians.
  • Stanley Jordan Trio (with Charnett Moffett and Kenwood Dennard). It was Stanley Jordan so of course it was great. I particularly liked the (really fast) rendition of "Impressions". This is also the only performance I remember seeing where the bassist used distortion and wah-wah more than the guitarist.
  • Gerald Wilson Orchestra with Kenny Burrell. Frankly, I was disappointed in this, but that was presumably the fault of either the sound crew and equipment, or my being so far from the stage that I wasn't getting an accurate hearing of the sounds coming off of it. It was nice to see and hear Kenny Burrell live though, and when I could hear him, he sounded great.

Monday, September 1

More Jazz Festival:

  • Gerald Clayton Trio (with Joseph Sanders and Justin Brown. The youngest group I saw; adventurous, both harmonically (but didn't sound like bop) and rhythmically. Clayton has his own style and I like it, and Justin Brown, the drummer, is insane in a good way: he often broke into what were either weird tuplet-based rhythms or just speech rhythms (i.e., rhythms that would be practically impossible to represent with musical notation), but the band always stayed together.
  • Derek Trucks Band. Good stuff. I found out that Trucks plays with his fingers (even single-note fretted lines).
  • Barry Harris interviewed by Ed Love. I only heard a bit of this, since I was on my way to the show below, but he told some good anecdotes (alas, none of which I can remember). I also finally got a face to match with DJ Ed Love's voice.
  • The Heath Brothers Quartet (Jimmy and Tootie Heath, Jeb Patton, and David Wong). A great bebop band. They played "Green Dolphin Street", a favorite of mine. Tootie Heath, the drummer, is excellent, and sounds much younger than he is. Something about him reminded me of Steve Gadd.
  • Some buskers down by the riverfront playing djembes and other percussion. This wasn't part of the DJF program, but I loved it. There were also some acrobatic dancers, and I got a flyer from one of the players for djembe classes.
  • Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band. Great stuff; the band included director Slide Hampton, Gerald Clayton (who sounded quite different in this context than with his trio earlier in the day), Jimmy Heath, and some vocals by Roberta Gambarini.

(I also saw some risers near the Dodge fountain that said politicalproductions.com. My Sherlockian powers of deduction tell me that these were from the Labor Day rally in the morning where Obama spoke.)



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