Monday, June 27, 2011
Review: Diverse at Grant Recital Hall
The potential is being realized.
Diverse was once a promising collective of young Kansas City-based jazz musicians. While the band's initial shows were invariably exciting, enthusiasm and energy were often the most memorable aspects of its formative gigs. That's changing.
After about three years of experience and a few lineup changes, the band that played last Sunday at UMKC's Grant Recital Hall was perhaps the best version of Diverse yet. Drummer Ryan Lee has reined in his wilder side. Hermon Mehari's solos contain new levels of maturity. Bassist Ben Leifer? Well, he's always been impeccable. Parisian pianist Tony Tixier added compelling new ideas and textures.
An audience of about fifty, over half of whom appeared to be UMKC students, attended the free concert. A wobbly amateur cinematographer posted much of it at YouTube.
A Lionel Loueke tune served as a fascinating meditation on time and a new original composition took the concept even further. The show wasn't perfect. Tixier only touched an electric keyboard on the final song, Ryan Lee's "Forever". I wanted more like that. And a few of the solos were a bit long.
Realizing how far Diverse has come in such a short amount of time, however, should have jazz fans with giddy with anticipation for whatever comes next.
(Original image by Plastic Sax.)