The Canyoneers 8 a.m., Dec. 19
Jackson & Friends live at McCrea Music Company
Friday night's inaugural Dizzy's production at McCrea Music Company, featuring local legend Daniel Jackson and friends, was memorable for several reasons — not all of them happy ones.
It was part concert, part birthday party (for Jackson's two adult children), part jam session — and for several scary minutes, a real medical emergency . Four songs into the concert — a fan on the upper level of the cavernous building collapsed, apparently the victim of a stroke.
Fortunately, there were several medical professionals in the audience, and the paramedics/EMT crew arrived within five minutes. The concert came to a halt as people filed out to make room for the emergency medical techs, and after awhile the man was wheeled out on a gurney, conscious, speaking, and hopefully on his way to a full recovery.
Before all that, Jackson, joined by LA stalwarts guitarist Jacques LeSure, bassist Henry Franklin, and Newark drummer Chuck McPherson opened with a loose take on a bebop classic and a gritty pass on a tune called "Real Blues," that found the leader performing on both piano and tenor saxophone.
Jackson is a surprisingly fluent pianist, given that he is self-taught, and he is unparalleled on the saxophone. LeSure traversed a road filled with arpeggios and scenes from the blues scale, and Franklin tore it up on the bass.
Aspiring vocalist Dorothy Annette and local violinist Jamie Shadowlight were called up to play Jackson's moving tribute to the late James Moody, "Memoirs," and the combination of wordless vocals and violin were sublime. Shadowlight really stood out on this one. Playing acoustically, her pure tone and emotive vibrato soared into the rafters.
LeSure got a chance to lead the trio of Franklin and McPherson through "The End Of A Happy Friendship," and he laced the piece with warm strands of chord melody and a striking series of triple-octaves. LeSure comes out of a Wes Montgomery/Grant Green/Barney Kessel bag, and he's delightfully "old-school" all the way.
Ms. Annette returned for a smoldering version of "Autumn Leaves," that had more than a little Sarah Vaughan in it. Jackson and company ripped through of version of the Sonny Rollins gem, "Oleo," that grooved so hard McPherson's drum throne exploded underneath him. The unflappable drummer encouraged everyone to carry on, and he finished the tune standing up.
Jackson brought two young protégés up to the stage for some deserved exposure: 15-year-old Dominic Pizarro and his 12 year old brother Angelo Pizarro are both pianists who have been wowing local audiences at jam sessions and performances at cafés and nursing homes.
In what had to be the opportunity of their young lives thus far, the two brothers ran through two pieces that featured their formidable technique with McPherson, LeSure and Franklin looking on in approval. The boys received a rousing wave of applause, and I think a few summer sessions at the UCSD jazz camp will have these two fellows primed to make a dent in the San Diego jazz scene.
Pianist extraordinaire Mikan Zlatkovich had another gig in La Jolla already booked, but he rushed down in time to lead a rousing version of Toots Thieleman's "Bluesette," for the finale, blowing some minds with his Bud Powell-esque chops.
Anytime Jackson plays anywhere, it's going to be special, and this was no exception. The place was packed solid, and the musicians hung around afterward to chat with members of the audience. I do wish that Jackson had featured himself more, but his generosity to others is inspiring.
Photo by Miguel Pizarro