Sunday, April 10, 2011

Review: UMKC Conservatory Concert Jazz Band featuring Jack Walrath at White Recital Hall

The ongoing opportunity to hear Bobby Watson tear it up is one of the best things Kansas City has to offer. No matter the setting, the jazz giant's exuberance is infectious.

Watson led the UMKC Conservatory Concert Jazz Band Wednesday, April 6, in a performance at White Recital Hall. The concert featured two arrangements commissioned for the event and the compositions and trumpet work of featured guest artist Jack Walrath. About 100 people attended.

The concert began with the world premiere of Edward Simon's arrangement of Horace Silver's "Song For My Father." In spite of drummer Ryan Lee's bashing, it seemed a bit creaky. Even the colorful presence of Walrath couldn't keep a few of the subsequent pieces from sounding overly academic.

A handful of participants, including saxophonists Blake Deibel and Brett Jackson and excellent bassist Zach Beeson, stood out. And as many already know, drummer Brian Steever is perhaps the most visually entertaining musician on Kansas City's jazz scene. It was disappointing, however, that not every student in the 18-piece ensemble was allowed to solo.

The final two selections were easily the most memorable. Walrath's raucous "Sorry Display in a '65 Ford" was in the vein of the wild music made during the trumpeter's stint as a member of Charles Mingus' band. Watson picked up his alto saxophone during the world premiere of Tyler Gilmore's arrangement of "Deep Pockets," a composition from Watson's 2008 From the Heart album.

A joyful noise ensued.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

No comments: