Alana and I headed down to Dimitrious Jazz Alley last week to check out Dr. Lonnie Smith. It was so good to see him and he was in great spirits. He was there with a band called ‘Crescent Boolgaloo’ featuring Peter Bernstein on guitar, Herlin Riley on drums, Christian Scott on trumpet and Donald Harrison on alto saxophone. I was especially curious to hear Lonnie in the quintet format because I have had the opportunity to play with him in that format but he definitely favors the trio format (guitar and drums). Whenever I have played with Lonnie it has always been very loose, undpredicatable and at times very challenging (not in a bad way). I thought that since he was playing with the ‘heavies’ it might be different. I was very very pleasantly surprised that it wasnt! it was the same good ol’ Lonnie! No set list, and the fly by the seat of your pants mentality. Scott and Harrison were left guessing at the what tunes were coming up and at times even wondering what tune they were playing. Of course Lonnie would launch into some intro and the horns would have no clue what they were about to go into. Now let me just say that as per usual Pete B. sounded amazing. I don’t think I have ever heard him have an ‘off’ night and this certainly wasn’t one. Dr. Lonnie played beautifully as usual. Doubling his left had with his feet and really laying down those punctuated bass lines. The guy is a groove machine and its hard to fathom how so much groove can come out of one guy! Christian Scott is a 25 year old trumpeter who looks like he is about 16. What a great player! He swung his ass off tipping his hat his obvious Clifford Brown and Kenny Dorham influences. He is a talent to watch! I had never heard Donald Harrison live before and it took me a while but by the end of the show I was really enjoying his playing. He tore it up on a tune called “Pilgramism’ which is a tune that I played with Lonnie. Donald really dug deep and sounded beautiful.
It was a fun night and there were some jazz celebrities in the audience to! Stix Hooper (of Jazz Crusaders fame) was sitting right next to us and loving every minute of the Dr.’s antics! Sitting at the bar in the back was none other than pianist KENNY BARRON, bassist KIYOSHI KITAGAWA and Cuban drummer FRANCISCO MELLA. The Barron trio played the two nights before. After the first tune of the night Dr. Lonnie announced that there were some ‘very special’ people in the house! He announced me which was extremely flattering but also a little embarassing because after me he introduced Stix and Kenny! Classic!
As I always do when I go to Seattle I made the quick trek to Bud’s Jazz Records in Pioneer Square. I was saddened but would be lying if I said I was surprised that the store that has been such a staple of the Seattle Jazz Community has closed its doors. There was something about that place that was so magical. Hundreds of records, CDs, DVDs etc. and they were all jazz. The stereo was always blaring with some burning tunes and it just felt good to hang out in there. I always got a kick out of going to the used bin to find Cellar Live cds for $7 that I had sent down there to see if they were interested in buying some copies to sell. I almost brought it up to James (the owner) that it was totally uncool, until I asked him if he had the new Criss Cross CD by Seamus Blake (Way Out Willy). He said he only had a promo copy which he would sell me for $7. I said “I’ll take it.” Bud’s Jazz Records was a great store and its sad that its no longer there!
Brian Nation has just posted a long interview that he did with me on Vancouverjazz.com
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Its worth it to check it out just for the picture of me in 1991 (grade 12) looking like Bart Simpson in an awful red shirt! Thanks to Brian for all his support!download birds of america online Brother Bear download