Monday, November 29, 2010

Review: Black Friday at Crosstown Station

It's not uncommon to find a couple hundred fresh-faced music lovers swaying and dancing to a band on a Friday night at Crosstown Station. When the men on the downtown club's stage are jazz musicians, however, it's clear that something extraordinary is happening.

Very rarely do trumpeter Hermon Mehari, vibraphonist Peter Schlamb, keyboardist Mark Lowrey, bassist Dominique Sanders and drummer Ryan Lee find themselves performing for such a large and fully engaged audience of their peers.

Their collaborators for the "Black Friday" concert were vocalist Schelli Tolliver and rappers Les Izmore and Reach. Although the set list may have focused on material like Talib Kweli's "Get By" and there was more rapping than singing, the jazz aesthetic wasn't compromised. As Joel Francis foretold in his preview of the event, Thelonious Monk's "I Mean You" seamlessly led into Common's "Thelonious." It all felt entirely natural, inspired and vital. (Here's The Pitch's review.)

If it continues to be led by courageous and imaginative musicians, Kansas City's legacy of jazz innovation will soon be fully restored.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

No comments: