Sunday, October 28, 2018

Concert Review: The Will Matthews Quintet at Open Spaces

I didn’t detect a trace of irony in Dan Cameron’s introduction for the Will Matthews Quintet’s performance at Swope Park on Saturday, October 20.  Cameron, the artistic director of the Open Spaces festival, insisted that “Kansas City is a jazz town.”  The ten people who showed up for the free show were outnumbered by Open Spaces staffers, volunteers and craft vendors. 

Matthews reminded the members of the intimate gathering that he’s played guitar with the Count Basie Orchestra for the last 22 years during a set that opened with an interpretation of “In a Mellow Tone.”  The sentiment expressed in the title of the Duke Ellington composition encapsulates Matthews’ accommodating swing.

Trombonist Louis Neal, keyboardist Matt Villinger and drummer Clarence Smith matched Matthews’ unhurried approach.  The woefully undervalued saxophonist Charles Perkins had other ideas.  Perkins’ intense evocation of Eric Dolphy averted any sense of routine complacency in the lightly attended but enormously satisfying outing.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

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