Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Against the Crosscurrent
Sam Wisman calls Crosscurrent a "nerdy little jazz band." I beg to differ.
I last raved about Crosscurrent in January. I suggested that they're "fiendishly good" and that they perform "music from a cocktail lounge that specializes in absinthe." And in his preface to a stunning photo essay of Crosscurrent, KCJazzLark called them "one of the best jazz groups in town." He's right.
I caught Crosscurrent last Wednesday at the Power & Light Grill. The establishment's enormous glass windows and concrete floor played cruel tricks on the band's sound. Their interpretation of Lennie Tristano material lost much of its nuance. The sound of saxophonist Matt Otto, one of Kansas City's most significant voices, almost resembled the processed style of David Sanborn. Weird.
Steve Lambert's reeds, T.J. Martley's keyboards, Zach Beeson's bass and Wisman's drums also echoed around the large room. There simply weren't enough bodies to absorb the sound. In the ninety minutes I spent at Power & Light Grill, the audience bottomed at 15 and peaked at 30.
Why were there so few people there? It was like a secret gig. Outside of Otto and Lambert's sites and the members' Facebook accounts, Crosscurrent is invisible on the internet. It's staggering that such brilliant musicians can't bring themselves to provide even a bare minimum of self-promotion. They're heard it from me before- I've addressed the matter privately and publicly with some of the guys. Their music- and Kansas City's jazz audience- deserves much better.
Crosscurrent plays Jardine's on September 24. You'll find the date listed on the Kansas City Jazz Calendar.
(Original images of Crosscurrent at the Power & Light Grill by Plastic Sax.)