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.)