Sun 22 Jan 2012
The 4th concert of the Hot Jazz series at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art played on much more traditional ground than the previous concerts, bringing on stage a couple of well known and experienced American instrumentalists – saxophonist Jesse Davis and drummer Victor Lewis. The concert itself was a homage to another two musicians of the previous generation – Cannonball Adderley and Sonny Stitt. Let me start with a few information about these two, and of course, some of their music. The style both excelled in was hard bop which can be considered as an evolution of bebop enriched by influences of blues, soul and R&B.
Florida-born saxophonist Cannonball Adderley played with John Coltrane and Miles Davis in the late 50s, and then he formed his own group which experimented with the new forms of expression on the roads opened by free jazz. His most famous tune is probably Mercy, mercy, mercy composed together with Joe Zawinul who played in his band. Here is an interview from 1958 where Cannonball talks about Charlie Parker and plays “Tribute to Monk” and “Jeannie” together with Nat Adderley at trumpet, Jimmy Cleveland at trombone, Mundell Lowe at guitar and Billy Taylor at piano.
Sonny Stitt (also a saxophonist) was born in Boston and is considered to be the greatest disciple of Charlie Parker and himself a fine performer of blues and ballads. Above you can hear him together withJJ Johnson and H. McGhee, playing Charlie Parker’s composition ‘Now’s the Time’.
It took me less than 30 seconds to fall under the charm of Jesse Davis. He is born in New Orleans and seems to have in his blood the rhythm and joy of playing of the jazzmen in the city of jazz. Here he is playing a couple of years ago with the Leo Parker Quartet at the Duc des Lombards jazz club in Paris, near the George Pompidou Center (yes, I was there last June, this is where I have seen and heard David Reinhardt – OMG, Wynton Marsalis is playing tonight there, Captain Picard, where is that transporter!!).
I think that Victor Lewis is not for the first time in Israel, but I may be mistaken. Born in 1950 he is one of these drummers who understands well tradition and adds both rhythm and musical substance to the bands he is playing with. Above he is engaging in one of these solos that make you understand the real place of a good drummer in a jazz performance. He engaged in a few of those last Friday.
The performance last Friday was built of two sets of four ample pieces each, most compositions and music played by Adderley and Stitt, but also one (excellent) piece composed by Victor Lewis. It is always interesting to see musicians from abroad and especially experienced musicians coming from the American schools of jazz working with young Israeli musicians. In these case Lewis and Davis were complemented by Gilad Abro at contra-bass who succeed in a few solos to raise at the level of his American partners on the stage in Tel Aviv. I was less impressed by New York based Jonathan Riklis. Overall it was a solid and well balanced evening of jazz.