Sunday, June 10, 2018

Concert Review: The Marcus Lewis Big Band at RecordBar

I’m still marveling at a few of the solos played during the first set of the Marcus Lewis Big Band’s appearance at RecordBar on Sunday, June 3.  A good-natured saxophone battle between Mike Herrera and Stephen Martin was thrilling.  Clint Ashlock unleashed a trumpet solo that was as murderous as anything I’ve heard him play as the artistic director and conductor of the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra.  Additional prominent musicians including drummer Ryan Lee, keyboardist Eddie Moore and trombonist Jason Goudeau made similarly memorable statements.

It was a shame that less than two dozen people paid the $5 cover to hear the 18-piece big band.  A more robust audience would have undoubtedly propelled the ensemble to even greater heights.  I didn’t stick around to hear rapper Kemet the Phantom join the group in the second set, but the band’s new single “Fake It Til I Make It” gives me a good idea of what I missed. 

As he mentioned the forthcoming Brass & Boujee album, Lewis suggested that “it’s the first time ever that I know of that an 18-piece big band has played with two rappers fronting it… we’re combining jazz and hip-hop.”  While the first set didn’t feature any rapping, the big band’s stylish sound was entirely up to date.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

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