Saturday night we went to a jazz performance by four cool cats from New York City called Tarbaby featuring Oliver Lake.
I don’t know a lot technically about jazz. I just know what type of jazz I like and what I don’t.
Coming from a music background of traditional piano, I love jazz because it’s about soul; playing what you feel and letting the music consume you. I’m often in awe of jazz musicians from a technical stand-point because I can’t understand how they follow the music written on the page. There are times when I can’t pick up the timing. Notes, rifts and melody is often layered amongst a sort of musical puzzle, in a way that if you truly listen, its actually not confusing at all.
I’m a genuine fan of smooth jazz, which takes it’s roots from Rhythm and Blues. Tarbaby hovers on the boundary-breaking edge of that deep velvety jazz and the progressive movement. It’s made up of three explosively talented individuals; Orrin Evans on the piano, Eric Revis on the double bass and Nasheet Waits on the drums. They write a lot of their own music but reinvent covers as well.
Progressive jazz is like a jar full of bumble bees; mesmerizing, beautiful and chaotic. If you lose concentration or zone out for a second, your likely to lose your foothold in the moment.
All About Jazz wrote that their ensemble is “stormy sonic serenades and wondrous music that follows wide arcs of evolution…”
Oliver Lake is a progressive jazzist in the true sense of the word. The music he makes from his alto saxiphone is astounding. I’ve never heard sounds like that from a sax before. It’s groundbreaking. The almost-70 year old has been on many a stage and it shows; he’s got a comfortable and commanding presence. No pretenses, just pure musical vision and talent.
While I preferred Tarbaby’s music over Mr Lake’s, I really enjoyed the collaborative performance, which was their debut performance in Australia as part of Melbourne’s 2012 Jazz Festival. Sitting in a darkened theatre just chilling out completely with Jay’s hand on my knee and an apple mojito in my hand. What a brilliant night!