Ken Leighton 11 a.m., Oct. 18
Daniel Jackson at the new Dizzy's
The tenor master featured a solid trio and a slew of guest musicians.
Local tenor saxophone giant Daniel Jackson, in a packed-to-the-rafters concert at the new Dizzy's, continued to demonstrate the salient features of his musicianship that have endeared him to so many. Leading an all-star group of pianist Joshua White, bassist Marshall Hawkins, and drummer Brett Sanders, Jackson also packed the stage with many guest musicians.
Opening with an in-the-moment blues powered by the ebullient block-chords of White and the primal ride cymbal pings and throbbing pulse of Sanders and Hawkins, guest trombonist George Bohanon strung short phrases like beads on a necklace before yielding to White--who started out with a self-contained call and response then veered into an entirely different structure. The band traded choruses with Sanders, who emerged with an expansive, roiling solo.
"Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise," a feature for Bohanon, brought layers of purring 'bone ideas then White tossed one fragment into a prism of tangential keys, establishing tension through repetition, then breaking loose with long, flowing themes. Jackson entered, spinning dark, burnished motifs that rippled like velvet streamers. Then it was Hawkins, singing unisons with his bass and reshaping the contours of the harmony into his own personal vision.
Jackson called violinist Jamie Shadowlight to the stage where only Hawkins remained as the two improvised a stunning, orbital display of string harmony that was later christened as "The Shaman's Father."
The saxophonist next introduced a duet between Hawkins and White, which turned out to be a highly elliptical examination of "Round Midnight" that grew from distant, tinkling harmonies into a more jagged and insistent extrapolation bouncing off the roaring whole-notes of the bass. As tension escalated--the two musicians seemed to meld into a centrifuge of angular and provocative ideas.
With the core trio back on stage, young alto saxophonist Trevor Orr was summoned. He called out "Like Someone In Love," and jumped all over it, expanding and contracting ornamental filigree around the changes from a deep wellspring of ideas.
Appearing dramatically from behind stage, saxophone legend Charles McPherson took matters into his own hands with a furious adaptation of "Oleo," crafting masterful, elliptical phrases that referenced the Charlie Parker/ Sonny Rollins continuum before leapfrogging into a dynamic more reflective of Eric Dolphy and Arthur Blythe--whip-lashing razors-edge, interval-leaping strands of pure excitement.
McPherson continued with an at turns pensive, then gut-wrenching exposition on "But Beautiful," twisting spirals of emotional content into expressive yelps and punctuating long, dense thoughts into altissimo squeals, White took the baton and formed a remarkable essay of absolutely clear expression.
After a crowd-pleasing rhythm demonstration by spoons man Leland Collins and Danny "Slap Jazz" Barber, the band returned, featuring vocalist Dorothy Annette for a heartfelt reading of "The Nearness Of You," which channeled into an extra-spiritual dimension every time Mr. Jackson injected his resonant obbligatos.
Veteran bebop protagonist Bob Boss finally got the call to join the festivities for the closer, "Caravan," but by then, (closing in on 2 1/2 hours), listener fatigue had set in for me, and I took my leave.
Photo by Michael Oletta