Matt Potter 3:45 p.m., April 20
Jazz 88 All Stars live
Veteran drummer Barry Farrar led the band in a tribute to Art Blakey.
In a kind of "home-grown" affair, the Jazz 88 All Stars appeared at City College on July 9, for the bi-monthly Jazz Live performance sponsored by KSDS.
The band, in various incarnations, has been around for years, and is directed by long-time jazz radio personality Barry Farrar of "Percussive Profiles" fame, definitely one of the station's better shows.
The concert was billed as "A Tribute to Art Blakey," the pioneering drum legend. To approximate the Blakey sound, guest trombonist Scott Kyle* was brought in to the fold, alongside tenor saxophonist Bob Campbell, trumpeter Steve Ebner, pianist Mikan Zlatkovich and bassist Bill Andrews.
Toggling between two ride cymbals, Farrar led the band through "Arabia," mostly notable for the 3 horn harmonies and a funky and decisive piano solo.
Campbell got a chance to showcase his yearning synthesis of the 50's Rollins/Coltrane sound on "Oh By The Way," over Farrar's rim-shot soliloquy. Andrews slipped in a rubbery, glissandi filled solo on "Moanin,' and locked in with Zlatkovich on the ostinato-driven "Crisis," which featured cogent horn solos in the midst of the hyperactivity.
The highlight of the evening had very little to do with Art Blakey, though. Zlatkovich's original, "This Is For Horace," is a picture-perfect approximation of 1960's hard bop at its finest, and the three horn lineup powered through the head with ebullient projection. Kyle's trombone solo was fluid and exciting, Zlatkovich swung his ass off and Farrar threw everything, including the proverbial kitchen sink into a long drum solo.
Another drum solo eventually led into the warhorse "Caravan," which drew a chortling 'bone spot and a really neat dual solo from Campbell and Ebner that I would have liked to hear more of.
Photo by Barbara Wise