Sunday, February 23, 2020

Concert Review: Alber at RecordBar

I suspect the Kansas City man who performed as Alber at RecordBar on Wednesday, February 19, is among the legions of people who appreciate the dozens of “chill” live-stream YouTube channels with names like LoFi Jazz Beats and Chillhop Radio: Jazzy Beats and LoFi Hip Hop.  The most popular streams regularly attract more than 10,000 simultaneous listeners.

Alber replicated the low-key style in a 30-minute opening set for the Austin rock band Star Parks.  Armed with a trumpet and a case overflowing with gear, Alber’s analog/electronic music combined a distressed rendering of Miles Davis’ late-period fusion with the lo-fi jazz style of today.  The approach was so sublimely gauzy that a monologue about nature-versus-nurture from an oblivious man seated near me was perfectly aligned with the performance. 

At a time in which three-ounce Pocket Operators create credible music, it’s only natural that savvy musicians like Alber fine-tune the readily accessible technology.  He’s the first locally based musician I’ve heard bring the form to a stage in Kansas City.  Alber’s experimentation may be anathema to jazz traditionalists, but the latest wrinkle expressed in work like his is essential to the ongoing viability of the form.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

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