In the past, I have enjoyed and listened to variety of rap music and classic music. Have also been attending and to numerous concerts but by no means experienced a jazz composition concert. After thinking of it, I decided to find a jazz concert to have the real and exciting pleasure I have missed all along. I had the chance to attend a Jazz Concert in Coral Gables, Florida in Open Stage Club as a casual listener although there were critical listeners too. It was carried out on 20th June of this year. Compared to all the other concerts that I have attended, the Coral Gables jazz concert was a definite change in atmosphere. This resolve to be fresh incident for me.
As I hiked into the Open Stage Club, I realized that it had a completely dissimilar atmosphere from what my prospect was for the composition concerts. Distinct from all the supplementary concerts I attended, this concert had smaller audience. In addition, the jazz concerts appeared very tranquil and at ease. Most people were dressed up in casually, wearing jeans and shirts. But, the band members were fully clad in suits. The audiences were seated in tables having three or more people each. The sitting arrangement was such that a good number of attendees faced the stage where the band was stationed.
There were various artists on stage such as Gary Keller who played Alto sax and Tenor, Billy Hart who played drums, Kenny Werner as a synthesizer and Drew Gress who played electric Guitar. They played tunes such as Babes of Cancun, Blues for Old New Age, Small feats and Monk Strut among others, all composed by Ron Miller. Jazz as a slow music draws interest from artists and the fan. The band showed great know-how and professionalism through their performance.
The blues for old new age was composed with an aim of being apprehended on synths with the extensive use of current sounding pads. However, in its performance the band had to play it with a hard bop tune and covert reference to the blues (Keller). The horn lines cried out well with clarion clear. The quartet worked only with Keller’s soprano is heard on the simultaneously heavy and light Babes of Cancun as well as on the ballad Peacock Park. Monk Strut had contrary arrangements between piano sauntering and drum chatter as the horns roll with the punches. On the other hand, Babes of Cancun was a tune without re-harmonization process. It had some similarity with Small Feats in its endearing diatonic melody and its harmonic style which portrayed the light-hearted tone of Coral Gables beach holiday (Keller). When played, it had a subtle Brazilian influence and shades of Methane in its melodic construction. While the band played it, one could feel that it was quite difficult to negotiate the changes while maintaining the forward motion that the melody suggests because of its advanced composition. The style was a romantic/jazzy because of style of the piano
The third song performed was Small Feats. The tune was played using the re-harmonization technique of diatonic substitutions at cadences. It can be compared to Peacock Park. From how it was performed, I could relate it to the technique for the Jazz Composition class at the University of Miami (Keller). It is composed and loosely based on the Coltrane composition Giant Steps. It lacks the mellow side brought out by the saxophone. The style seemed more classical because of it fast pace rhythm. I disliked this composition because of its constant melody of high volume. The tune Monk Strut depicted its title of quirky phrasing of the harmonic rhythm typical of a Monk composition. One of my friends, whom I attended the concert alongside, could relate to the performance he attended at Monk concert due to the little dances. Kenny Werner was able to play the piano during sax solos. The tune has a subtle bop quality with its AABA form and straight ahead broken-swing time feel. From numerous studies, I came to know that its melody may have originated from Nefertiti by Wayne Shorter. This harmony related to the Herbie Hancock School.
The performance demonstrated an extraordinary degree of depth and understanding in capturing the stylistic essence of each tune. It was coupled with a high level of flexibility, creativity and interaction; which made each instrument sound like the definitive version. It also showed the creativity of Ron Miller concerning his collection and compositions recorded by some of today’s preeminent jazz musicians. I found that, Ron’s music is deeply rooted in the past although it is unique and original with a cliché. It has been influenced by former artists such as Horace Silver, Wayne Shorter, Charles Mingus, Joe Henderson, John Coltrane and Herbie Hancock.
The performance showed high class of lyrical melodies, wide ranging harmonic textures as well as clear conceived emotional contours. Jazz romanticism is experienced throughout the performance. The concert provided a platform and opportunity to test my knowledge about jazz. It was one of my best moments as I enjoyed the performance with high spirit and relaxing rhythm. Each of the piece performed were all jazz related but each piece had its own unique style. This became part of my best moment and a means to relax the mind and soul. To my set hopes, the concert did not disappoint. I am looking forward to attend more jazz concerts.
Keller, Gary. “Babes of Cancun from “Blues For an Old New Age”.” YouTube. YouTube, 13 Nov. 2015. Web. 6 July 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDw_Ik0LyKs>.