Sunday, October 23, 2011
Review: Crosscurrents at Polsky Theatre
A musician I know suggests that the jazz audience is diminished because Americans have become undereducated and overstimulated. As he bemoans the dumbing down of our citizenry, I don't dare tell my friend that I like "Mr. Carter" as least as much as James Carter.
I may not entirely agree with the musician, but his assertion isn't without merit. In today's often unenlightened environment, no venture may be more quixotic than a collective dedicated to the music of Lennie Tristano. Defiantly counterintuitive, Crosscurrent is one of of Kansas City's most unlikely bands. A free October 19 concert at Polsky Theatre at Johnson Country Community College served as a reminder that Crosscurrent also one of the best groups in the region.
"I call it weird bop," bandleader Sam Wisman explained to an audience of about 150.
I call it cerebral music played to perfection.
Tracking Tristano's time signatures and deciphering a pair of Matt Otto's original compositions taxed my atrophied brain. Concentrating on a Crosscurrent performance is akin to winding one's way through a meditation maze. At the conclusion of Wednesday's labyrinth-like concert, I was almost too exhausted to check my cellphone to get the latest update on Kim Kardashian.
(Original image of T.J. Martley, Ben Leifer, Steve Lambert, Sam Wisman and Matt Otto by Plastic Sax.)