Rob Dixon, Steve Allee, Wayne Wallace, Jim Anderson, Steve Houghton
Jazz Kitchen, Jan. 25
A Love Supreme Tribute
John Coltrane’s studio album A Love Supreme, released in February 1965, is heralded not only as a highlight of Coltrane’s oeuvre, but as one of the finest all-time jazz offerings. In the form of a four-part suite, Coltrane’s quartet recorded the album in one session on Dec. 9, 1964. Intended as a spiritual, personal journey toward self-empowerment away from devastating drug addiction, the work is an interweaving of Coltrane’s initial hard bop with his later embrace of modal jazz and free jazz.
Indy Jazz Fest on Jan. 25 presented Salute on the 50th Anniversary of John Coltrane’s Landmark Recording A Love Supreme.” Delivering the tribute at The Jazz Kitchen were Rob Dixon, saxophone; Steve Allee, piano; Wayne Wallace, trombone; Jim Anderson, double bass; Steve Houghton, drums. They did Coltrane proud, sharing their personal expressions and impressions for three of the album’s four tracks: “Acknowledgement,” “Resolution” and “Pursuance,” and with four earlier Coltrane songs.
A Love Supreme requires complete attention not only for the listener, but for the players, the sense of their symbiosis with each other, along with a unity throughout the room was electrifying—everyone in attendance has had a connection with Coltrane.
Acknowledgement opens with a gong call and cymbal washes. We’re in a different place. The base brings us the four note motif and everyone weighs in with variant solos leading us to determine a personal connection with “a love supreme”— Coltrane’s search is ours throughout the dynamics of this work played full out and held back, waves of modulations and repetitions building as soloists step in and out bowing to each other’s points of view toward the seeming “Resolution” requiring “Pursuance” — personal quest is never ending.
Dixon prefaced the 1962 ballad for black girls killed when the KKK bombed their church. “Alabama” is a wrenching blues work. “Central Park West,” representing Coltrane’s early exploring of the soprano saxophone, is a lovely, lyrical ballad where the subtlety of bass and drums underlie the theme evolving from piano, sax and trombone. Wise One is a spiritual song—delicate, sedate, unrushed. “Impressions” is Coltrane’s up-tempo side — nothing is held back. It is intensity and ongoing exploration for all players to the finish.
Jazz Kitchen, Jan. 24:
APA Jazz Fellowship Awards Program
Zach Lapidus approached the keyboard with a loving caress to bring forth Jerome Kern’s “Yesterdays” and “Nobody Else But Me” with motivation migrating outward from the music’s inner core, bringing along bassist Nick Tucker and drummer Kenny Phelps for a full out exploration of melody in multiple guises.
Lapidus plays for the sheer joy of mediating wonderment and discovery with the feel and sight of sound. Not setting out to dazzle, he does; not showcasing virtuosity, he comes by it organically. His paraphrasing of the essential melody of Steve Swallow’s Falling Grace, articulating of the transcendent qualities driving Earl Klugh’s Voneta, and joyful swinging of A.C. Jobin’s Bosa Nova Aguas de Marco [“Waters of March’] show impeccable preparation. They trickled off the keyboard in unison with Phelps and Tucker as if they’d just gotten together and said, “Hey, why not?”
What sets Lapidus apart is purity of each note, grace of tonality, clarity of color, fluidity of shape. Reverential in his approach to the great American Songbook and other people’s works, boldness marks his original compositions. In both cases he pulls us in to expose depths of emotions and wide swaths of landscape — natural and cultural. Lapidus is simultaneously painterly and dancerly, with an expansive palette that starts at the mid-section of the piano and radiates outward, capturing the moment and letting it go in progressive expansion of the story, a feeling, an idea.
He shared five original compositions. We want to hear them again. Maybe we’ll get the chance at the free program on January 28. “Stray” is conversational, “This is Their Moment” grows from balladry to exaltation, “Brooklyn Sleeps” evokes sights and sounds, getting used to a new place and its particular patterns. “Mishiman” is portraiture with a touch of macabre with piano dancing over steady beat of bass and percussion. It’s counter-intuitive. “Sinking Ship” takes us into other places — we’ve been there: it’s safe and not. The encore — Nicholas Brodzsky and Sammy Cahn’s “I’ll Never Stop Loving You” – sent us home warmly smiling. Lapidus cares how we feel about each other. He shares his side of love and the humanity surrounding jazz from its roots in the American heartland.
Wednesday, January 28
Poston Auditorium at Broad Ripple High School, 1115 Broad Ripple Ave
1:30 p.m., free, all-ages
Eskenazi Health, 720 Eskenazi Ave.
4:30 p.m., free, all-ages