Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Night of Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl

Last night was a most enjoyable and interesting experience - I joined THOUSANDS of other people that went to see Dave Brubeck at the Hollywood Bowl. Along with Dave there was Madeleine Peyroux and Bruce Hornsby
Bruce was trying out his new album in front of a big audience, and he was joined by album mates Christian McBride and Jack Dejohnette.
Well, let's just say that Brubeck showed the youngsters how it is done - his quartet was awesome - great dynamics, incredible interplay, wonderful choice of material. It was wonderful to see a master still in the game at 87 years old!
I enjoy M. Peyroux's song(s), and her phrasing is fun, but her voice got a bit annoying by the end of the set - and she never bothered to introduce her band. It was that Norah-Jones kind of music where you know the musicians must be having a good time, but damn if they are ever going to show it - it looked like the bass player and drummer were on quaaludes, or some type of drug that sapped all creativity out of their playing.
Mr. Hornsby, on the other end, was full of creativity, but was sorely lacking in dynamics and chord progressions. It is always a blast to hear Jack Dejohnette, and Christan McBride and they did a great job lending some jazz authenticity to Hornsby's stab at being a jazz pianist. The best tune of the night for him was a Keith Jarrett song. This was most appropriate, as Jarrett seems to be his main influence.
For some reason they had Bruce Hornsby close out the evening, and I would not want to have to follow Dave Brubeck, especially with a band that was performing on stage only for the fourth time in their existence. Talk about starting at the top - way to go, Bruce! Now, if only he had reworked a cool jazz version of "The Way It Is", and sung it with the guys, maybe they all would have loosened up some and had more fun. As it was, it just seemed like Hornsby had something to prove, and was working really hard to live up to some Jazz-Worthiness level to play with those two giants.
Dave Brubeck, on the other hand, had nothing to prove. He was clearly having the time of his life on the stage with band mates that he has played with for decades. They were a well oiled machine. And the best thing was - thousands and thousands of people showed up to hear a jazz quartet play, with no flash or trash, just great music in an wonderful setting. Go Dave! Long may you wave!