Joe Garrison & Night People
  • Joe Garrison & Night People
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San Diego composer Joe Garrison has reemerged into the local jazz scene in the past few years, and his concert at the Loft in La Jolla made waves with the full-house assembled to witness the 18-member Night People ensemble interpret his music.

Armed with a full slate of prime soloists and orchestral players plus the live sampled electronics of Chris Warren, Garrison led off with “Casi Cada Dia,” with bass-clarinetist Ariana Warren alto-violinist Dave Millard and soprano saxophonist Kamau Kenyatta positing individual statements over luxuriant harmonies from the three trombone, two trumpet, flute and oboe wind section.

“South Door” explored dissonance as color and elicited powerful solos from Derek Cannon’s trumpet, Lynn Willard’s piano, Jordan Morita’s trombone, and Ian Tordella’s alto saxophone, while the dedication to the late Daniel Jackson, “Sun Soul,” radiated modal textures from Willard and guitarist Tonga Ross-Ma’u under Millard’s mournful alto-flute elegy.

Trombonist’s Brian Smith and Brian O’Donnell layered dual solos through the sputtering, undulated electronic treatment of their output in real time by Warren, on the kalimba-like meditation “And the Moon Be Still as Bright” using a raw drum solo from Charlie Weller to transition into the Weather Report-ish “Cuando la Lluvia,” featuring Doug Meeuwsen.

Concert: Joe Garrison & Night People
Date: December 2, 2014
Venue: The Loft, UCSD
Seats: center table, up front

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RenFaiz Jan. 11, 2015 @ 4:54 p.m.

The Night People musicians are definitely some of San Diego's best, both individually and when they play in small groups or larger bands. This is a good platform to bring some of San Diego's finest jazz musicians together at once. The musical performances are excellent.

Aside from a few minutes here and there, when only a few of the musicians are able to briefly shine, playing solo, in duo, or in trio, each of the Night People performances sounds essentially the same as the last one, pretty much the same as last time and the time before, all the way through. Great musicians, playing great music, including special guests or featured artists. Joe Garrison is good at writing for and arranging Night People, as well. Even with featured artists and solos, however, it turns out that the Night People big band makes very much the same overall sound each time it performs. Not a bad thing, just the same thing again.


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