Sunday, November 15, 2015
Concert Review: John Blevins and Drew Williams at the Westport CoffeeHouse Theater
Drew Williams offered heartfelt thanks to the family and friends who attended his showcase at Westport CoffeeHouse Theater last Wednesday.
The body language of at least a couple members of the audience indicated they’d didn't care for egghead jazz. Seated between the only two of 30 people that didn’t seem to have a personal connection to the former Kansas City resident, I adored the nerdy sounds.
The ambitious concert began with a 40-minute set of Williams’ compositions. Many of the arrangements performed by an octet resembled Sun Ra-penned pep band fight songs for a mathlete team.
Williams occasionally looped his bass clarinet. The contributions of guitarist Jeff McLaughlin and drummer Nathan Ellman-Bell were also intriguing. Although the musicians’ intense concentration on sheet music detracted from the presentation, Williams’ bold experimentation resulted in one the most exciting jazz-based performances I’ve heard in Kansas City in 2015.
A subsequent quintet interpretation of material from the New York based trumpeter John Blevins’ Matterhorn album was almost as engaging.
(Original image by Plastic Sax.)