The Jazzcat

John Beasley's CD Release Party at Catalina’s Bar and Grill

by on Oct.31, 2009, under News



Once again, back at Catalina Bar and Grill for another round

of star-studded music this time with the outstanding compositions of John

Beasley. Beasley is one incredible pianist that has been on the scene for a long

time playing with the likes of Miles, Freddy and Chick to the Hargroves,

McBrides and Tains of our time! 

Tonight he is celebrating the release of his second album on the

Resonance Jazz Label call “Positootly”! The album features Bennie Maupin, Bryan

Lynch, Munyungo Jackson, James Genus and the Tainish one himself, Jeff “Tain” Watts. On stage

this evening is another host of star power featuring trumpeter Nicolas Payton,

bassist Victor Bailey and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington. One secret that is

really no secret at all is if you want the best out of the music, you have to

play with the best. This is only one element to the formula for extraordinary

music; the other is peace, love, compassion and synchronicity amongst the

peeps. The intangible element makes life, creativity and the music an

effortless encounter.


Photographed by Juan E. Morse

Click picture of John above for video interview with Beasley and LeRoy Downs


I got a chance to take a quick dip backstage before the

performance to find the band in comfortable chill mode. Beasley, relaxed as

ever chillin’ with a big warm smile, is assuming a body position which

exemplifies the underlying self assured confidence that the box is about to be

knocked out and although the audience expects the same, they don’t know what's coming.


Photographed by Juan E. Morse


The cats make their way to the stage in front of a healthy

audience of anticipating adventure seekers.  This is the last night so the music has already been worked

out in every direction and all that is left to do is to press the button and

may the force be with you!



Click Positootly for FREE MP3 of “So Tired” and click “Letter to Herbie” for FREE MP3 of “Here and Now”

Prior to “Positootly!”, John released another beautiful album

on Resonance Records called “Letter to Herbie” where he mashes and smashes with

homage and respect, the compositions of the legendary Herbie Hancock. Set one

starts out with a few tunes from this recording and as John drops blocks of

melodic structure phrasing the sound with intensions and dimensions, he take

the music to the outside of in. Terri Lyne rolls out with thunder under

Victor’s electricity and the pristine fragrance of Nicolas’s trumpet has us all

caught up in “ The Eye of the Hurricane!”



Victor’s bass adds a touch of underlying funk to the runs

and Beas hints at the familiar melody. With comfort and ease the continuous

driving tempo and power of TLC’s drums keeps the force fierce! John is dropping

some serious love in the form of delightful sprinkles and tasty notes that

tingle and twist in the spin.



Break it down, with warm rolling romance that searches and

finds lovers dancing in a bed of flowers is the visual I get when engulfed by

the intro to another Herbie Hancock classic, “Maiden Voyage!”. Each member of

the band offers lovely support as the creative heavens open and the beautiful

brilliance of interconnectivity shine in a prism of color.  When you look at the players on stage,

each one seems to be intrinsically locked in their own space but the collective

dynamic facilitates the unit with seamless cognitive synchronicity leaving us

on a Herbie high with “Bedtime Voyage!”


The music has a new groove, not in the sense of simple

rhythmic content, but beautiful structural complexities that are riche with

warmth and balance. They do have fun on a few of the tunes from “Positootly!”

which offer some swing on the blues side of the street. Nick has so much

happiness in the character and color of his sound and Victor's playing speaks

volumes in a language that holds the weight of rhythm, funk and bottom.



“Black Thunder” was a composition written for the great

Elvin Jones. A deep dark melodic mantra which Terri Lyne raises her high hat

Elvin. The tune takes flight and Nicholas gets it up to cruising

altitude. John switches to a brand new Rhodes for some harmonic in the pocket

electricity, Zing! This engine runs like a Cadillac, silky and cruising

flawlessly at high speeds with hardly any pressure on the pedal. Subtle hints

of Celeste are precious additions to the pallete.


Photographed by Juan E. Morse

The journey continues with a trip to Buenos Aires where

influences of the Tango a-la Astor Piazzolla bonds with the elements and

minerals of jazz letting the two flavors dance in “Tanguedia III”. The piece

has dramatic pauses of silence where the mood and tempo switch up to new

directions of loveliness!


John Beasley has been burning the midnight oils and working

in the lab developing his concepts in music so ring the bell and be greeted by

plethora of kaleidoscopic, deconstruction and resurrection of melodic “Resonance”.

I abosotively, “Positootly”, guarantee a pleasing musical experience!


LeRoy Downs


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