Monday, December 24, 2012

The Ghost of Christmas Present

Am I Ebenezer Scrooge?  My good friend KCJazzLark seems to think so.  In a clever new post titled "A KC Jazz Christmas Carol, Part 1," he refutes this site's year-end recap with surgical precision. 

I stand by my assertions regarding the diminishing audience for jazz, but KCJazzLark's eloquent take-down suggests that I may be failing to adequately share my enthusiasm for the music.  Fortunately, I need only go back a few hours for a vivid reminder of why I continue to espouse the ongoing vitality of the music being played on Kansas City's jazz scene.

A performance last night at the RecordBar was almost as good as anything I'd heard in all of 2012.  Brilliant saxophonist and composer Matt Otto led a band featuring visiting trumpeter Dave Scott, bassist Jeff Harshbarger and drummer Ryan Lee.  The quartet played some next-level stuff that continually astounded me.

Lee has never sounded better.  I recall giving him a hard time a few years ago for occasionally overplaying.  That's all behind him.  He and Jeff Harshbarger, Plastic Sax's 2011 Person of the Year, were endlessly creative.  I would have been happy to hear just the two of them play as a duo all night.  Yet Otto and Scott were similarly inspired.  The compelling new material Otto wrote for the gig enhanced the quiet power of his band.

I know KCJazzLark shares my passion for these musicians.  I also know that both of us will continue spreading the good news about these essential sounds in the new year.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

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