Monday, August 1, 2011
Jolted at the July Jazz Jam
"I hate 'happy jazz,'" a young jazz musician commented at Plastic Sax a few months ago.
If he was referencing the approach associated with Tim Whitmer, he holds the minority opinion. The popular entertainer has been a favorite of Kansas City audiences for decades. They came out in droves to attend Whitmer's latest venture on Sunday evening. The (first annual) July Jazz Jam at Community Christian Church attracted approximately 750 people.
Whitmer regularly proves that there's still a sizable audience for mainstream jazz when it comes in the form of familiar material played by musicians with smiles on their faces. The gentle sound heard Sunday may have been safe, but it was also impeccable. James Albright (bass), Everette DeVan (organ), Rod Fleeman (guitar), Jim Mair (saxophone) and Jurgen Welge (drums) served as the indefatigably swinging house band at "Club 4601."
I've attended S.R.O. Whitmer-led Christmas concerts at Community Christian Church for years, but I didn't expect the same sort of enormous turnout for a first-time event on a balmy Sunday night in July. Shows what I know. If anyone has ever been inclined to say "I told you so," well, now's the time.
(Original image by Plastic Sax.)