Daniel Powell 1:30 p.m., Nov. 19
Song X tribute at Villa Musica
Nate Jarrell led an all-star quintet through the difficult music of Ornette Coleman and Pat Metheny.
It takes some balls to commit to a concert celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the iconic Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman recording Song X, one of the most powerful and singular musical statements of our time.
On April 13, guitarist Nate Jarrell did just that, with saxophonist David Borgo, bassist Harley Magsino, and drummers Nathan Hubbard and Jeanette Kangas all strapped in and ready for blast-off.
Magsino's strumming led off "Police State," a joyously repetitive head that leaned heavily on Jarrell's legato lines. "Mob Job," got a funk underpinning with Borgo's warbling saxophone lacing gruff vibrato over the dueling drums of Hubbard and Kangas, who tossed press-rolls and nervous energy back and forth.
"Word For Bird," smoked from the first bar, and Borgo surfaced with extrapolated fragments much in the manner of O.C. himself. Kangas and Hubbard engaged in a dual solo of kinetic energy and comic electronics before yielding to an eerie bowed solo from Magsino.
"Compute," has a melody like an epileptic seizure and Jarrell carried on with an appropriately OCD solo followed by Borgo's chirping soprano.
Jarrell led off the second set with Magsino and Kangas interpreting an older Ornette classic, "Una Muy Bonita." Guided by the laser focus of Kangas' ride cymbal, the guitarist played with an ebullient chromatic confidence over the spirited Latin groove.
The irresistible Calypso feel of "The Good Life," found the guitarist motoring ahead with wild pan-tonal ideas and Borgo countering with an almost Sonny Rollins flavored excursion on tenor.
The closing medley of "Song X/ Endangered Species" ratcheted up to a wicked delirium on the former, but lost a little steam on the latter.
Adventurous music by a stellar quintet. Jarrell hopes to do this again, and I hope to be there.
Photo by Michael Klayman