The Jazzcat

Joshua Redman, Christian McBride and Herbie Hancock at the Hollywood Bowl!!

by on Aug.21, 2006, under News




First of all, the

sight of these three names together on one bill possesses enough atomic

energy to make any jazz enthusiast explode. How on earth could the Hollywood

Bowl have the fortitude to put together such a fantastic line-up? Oh,

yeah, when you have Christian McBride as the artistic director for the

Hollywood Bowl, all wonderful things in jazz music are possible!



An exciting evening

of music to say the least! As many of you know I host a jazz

performance over at the LAX Westin every Wednesday night, but tonight I

am off, under the stars at the Bowl, enjoying the experience of three

of jazz music’s most innovative and form-stretching bands.




First up was Joshua

Redman and his trio, with Reuben Rogers and Eric Harland. The surrey

with a bit more that just the fringe on top! Pianoless trio music does

not lock you into a melody. Like a bird, you are free to soar the skies

of imagination and with these three individuals, the sky is not the





Introspection, space

and focus allow you to go to the deepest depths of your brain one

moment, and lay it on thick the next. Joshua has always been a leader

and has taken the music in new and exciting directions throughout his

evolution. He gives homage to his peers and to the masters of the

evening that he shares the stage with. “Zarafah” is a tune Joshua wrote

for his mother and it was played like a soprano serenade with three

wise men offering gifts to a queen.




Reuben Rogers and

Eric Harland complete the colors in the tapestry. Reuben not only has

character, but he always becomes one when he plays. His lyricism always

defines itself, and the image of his character–complete with role,

plot and purpose–always emerges with the story of the music.


Eric Harland has the

touch of a tribe. Not just one individual, but the sounds of the entire

village: powerful, sensitive and rich with timbre, textured time. These

cats have fun with the music of Monk, Rodgers, Hammerstein and Redman!




As the circle of the

Bowl spins, not one magic note is lost as Christian McBride and his

band of bad-ass adventurers pick up where Joshua and his trio left off.

Every generation has their way of rocking the sound of the day and

these brothers are the leaders of the new frontier.


Artistic chair

Christian McBride knows all too well how to hold down the musical Fort.

These are the cats that have changed from a quartet into a band by

including elements from all forms of music while holding down the jazz

line. The genius of the Keez, Geoff Keezer kicks ass on the synthesizer

and piano, incorporating, combining and inventing electric and classic

innovations from past, present and future into a sound light years





Christian fires off

bass bullets like Neo in the Matrix of Soul! The Philly Phunk is deep

and in full effect and in a moment's notice the blues turned a

Wednesday night into Sunday mornin’ Chu'ch! Ron Blake brought the dance

to the freedom of the jazz and Terreon’s tank rolls full force, laying

down a solid foundation with an eclectic barrage of beats and bashes.


If the Christian

McBride band was a Saturday morning cartoon, they would be a band of

superheroes named Thump de Funk, Electric Groove, Sultry Fire

and Thunder Tank.  Their mission would be to spread joyous

vibrations of good music while possessing powers to fight off the

sinister foes of the evil Bad-note Banshees.




Christian, or C McB

as some friends commonly refer to him, also gives love, honor and

respect to the legends and contemporary counterparts that he shares the

stage with tonight as well. He also does not fail to mention that he is

following in the footsteps of Dianne Reeves as artistic chair for the

Hollywood Bowl and will continue to do her and the position proud by

maintaining high integrity while introducing creative

and musically provocative quality entertainment.




Christian, like many

of us, watched the “Flip Wilson Show” back in the day. If you have to

ask, you grew up with a computer and you know how to look it up! He

recognized that Flip’s real name was Clerow and he wrote a piece for

him called “Clerow’s Flipped” Another tune performed was one from his

“Sci-Fi” album called “Lullaby for a Ladybug”, where the bass and bow

emulate the pace, encounters and beauty in a day in the life of a

ladybug with lovely melodies, warm harmonies and the inquisitive

splendor of wonderful possibilities that no lullaby should be without.




If the forecast calls

for temperatures in the high 90’s with thunderstorms and an occasional

6.0 earthquake, you know that the band is giving tribute to the

forefathers of jazz fusion Weather Report with their version of “Boogie

Woogie Waltz”. Watch out, because the sky might be falling!




The grand

performance of the evening was the ever-present, cool teenage

legend for the past several decades, Mr. Herbie Hancock. From “Future

to Future” and back, Herbie sparks the ignition on his spaceship and

proceeds to take us on an e-ticket ride through the cavernous galaxies

of a Herbie brain-mesmerizing adventure. His spaceship has picked up a

cast of diverse musical travelers who have joined his mission in search

of the great musical exploration experience of sound possibilities!

Each member in his cast of characters is an essential ingredient to the

morphing musical compositional puzzle of life that will inspire,

provoke and pursue a never-ending search for more. This is not a ship

of bandits or misfits but perhaps the one organic entity blending and

seeking truth and the answer to the musical question of “Why and Why





Lionel Loueke’s voice

is beautiful as the lilts, lulls, lifts and cries float over

time-warping transitions and the luscious strings of sound on his

guitar. From Benin, West Africa, to Paris, Berkeley, Los Angeles and New York,

Lionel has accumulated precious musical jewels whose brilliance can be

heard around the world. An international soup of sorts, his native

vocalese vernacular and lovely guitar melodies combine with the worldly

percussive use of his entire instrument to provide a sound that is





Lily Haden plays

notes that range from the deepest depth to the top of the pinnacle with

vibrations that emanate sheer beauty when her bow lay upon the strings

of her violin. She has just recently lost her mother, a tragedy of

emotions that everyone can imagine, and she pays homage in her

composition “Unfolding Grace”. There is solitude, insight,

introspection and recollection and you visualize as you hear the entire

life of a wonderful human being.




Matt Garrison is all

over that five string bass. Growing up in such a rich musical

environment, there is no way that he could not be blessed with the

gift. He and drummer Richie Barshay, although not featured, are an

extreme component to the foundation of openness and space in the band.




Herbie calls us

Angelenos his homies and of course we are proud to have that as a

blessing. He asks us if we are ready for the hard stuff after playing

such beautiful ethereal music and we reply with no hesitation. He then

proceeds to pull the gravity plug out as he takes us hunting for heads

with “Actual Proof”. Herbie chartered a divine, but different course

for the trip down memory lane with “Maiden Voyage” to “Cantaloupe Island”.

What more can be said? From new galaxies back to familiar waters,

Herbie Hancock rounds out the evening of great entertainment with the

masterful style and grace of the legacy that he beholds. God is good!


LeRoy Downs














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