Daniel Powell 1:30 p.m., Nov. 19
Parker Trio live in the East Village
The creative Chicago/ Southern California guitarist brought his tight trio to town for some jagged explorations on the jazz aesthetic.
Concert promoter Bonnie Wright's importance to the music and arts community received some rare public acknowledgement on May 14, when she was awarded a proclamation signed by Mayor Bob Filner declaring it to be Bonnie Wright Day in San Diego.
This surprise occurred right as she was introducing the last show of her Fresh Sound String Theory series featuring the Jeff Parker Trio, a riveting, two hour affair that showcased the tight interplay between the leader's guitar and the solid efforts of Chris Lopes on bass with Chad Taylor on drums.
A nervous unison ostinato began "Days Fly By," as Taylor whipped up waves of percussion before settling into an Elvin Jones like groove. Parker's lines are clean and squiggly and are often laced with dark harmonies while Lopes tends toward thick, rope like structures.
Taylor led off "Mahlz," with a brief drum feature that yielded to Parker's deft balance of lyric grace with spiky dissonance, and the drummer kept the excitement quotient on a high level throughout the performance with an endless variety of forward motion.
The rubato, free-ballad "Good Days," featured an angular melody and a quote from "Round Midnight," to lead off a guitar solo where Parker conjured cycles of staccato discourse and modal voice-leading.
Taylor's drums opened "Freakadelic," with an appropriately elliptical groove as Lopes jack-hammered a vamp while Parker took it about as "out" as out would go with wild free raking and Derek Bailey-ish extrapolations.
"Like Coping," was as close to the traditional jazz guitar trio as these guys would come, with a furious walking bass, Jim Hall meets Mary Halvorson chord slashes and ebullient drum dialog. Lopes' solo began with pure time, like a free Percy Heath before expanding into layered ideas over a hissing hi hat.
The whole concert was infused with unpredictable toggling between extremes of jittery, lurching melodies and joyous commitment to a groove, and the many years of shared experience paid big dividends in the way these three breathe together.
If only there were more Bonnie Wright days in the immediate future. For now, we'll have to wait until her Fresh Sound concert series resumes in September.
Photo by Michael Klayman