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Summer 2004 and Beyond: Going to the GoGo
Monday, 29 September 2008
Sunday at Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
Ina & Jack Kay Theatre, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742

This was my first time at this venue.

Joe Castleman, a fellow member of the Miles Davis listserv I'm on, was also at this performance, his comments are in italics below.

My seat was in the first row of the (round) balcony, about halfway between the left entrance and the middle.

I was about four rows behind you!

I had missed seeing Wayne when he performed at the 2005 Duke Ellington Jazz Festival as I got so sunburned watching the earlier acts that I had to leave before he performed, so I didn't hesitate to buy my ticket as soon as I read about this performance last Month.

I did, too. We had a 2-month-old at that point and there was no way I could have stayed out there all day. I assumed that he'd be playing last, i.e. that evening, being the headliner. But we did get to see Chuck Brown finish (and FWIW, last year I took my son with me to WPFW's garage sale, where he saw Chuck Brown a second time).

However, I was frustrated when I found out that the performance would start during the Redskins game at the Cowboys (we (the Redskins) won 26-24). In fact, I left home early to eat at a College Park bar so that I could see any of the game at all. I ended up at the Cornerstone Grill when RJ Bentley's couldn't get TV reception for the game.

I wonder if that was why people were showing up halfway through the concert, inching their way down the seats. Nice.

The host, Ruth Waalkes?, came out and spoke briefly before the performance, including thanking Barbara and Charles Reiher as a gift of theirs partially funded this performance.

The audience area was pitch black throughout the performance.

They announced that the performances would not follow the order in the program, which was Imani Winds solo, Wayne Shorter Quartet, Wayne Shorter Quartet with the Imani Winds.

The Wayne Shorter Quartet
The line up was: Wayne Shorter (Saxophone), Brian Blade (drums), John Patitucci (bass), Danilo Perez (piano) (This has been Wayne's band for years now).
The arrangement was: the grand piano was on the left at an angle, Wayne stood in front of it about midway in its length and stored his mouthpieces covers not in use in the piano, John stood to the right of the piano, and Brian was at the right which his drum kit at an angle.
Brian's drum kit was the smallest drum kit I've ever seen. It had mics suspended above it from mic stands.
After just a few seconds, they started to play and played continually except for short pauses (for applause) from 6:13 to 7:06 PM, all at a light crank.
Brian was visually compelling, he played with mallets (both ends) and sticks and he moved his arms in various awkward looking positions, including often playing with his arms crossing each other.
Next the Imani Winds came out. Unfortunately, during the rest of the performance, some guy sitting in my row would not keep quiet.
Imani Winds
The line up was (left to right): Valerie Coleman (flutes), Toyin Spellman-Diaz (oboe), Mariam Adam (clarinet), Monica Ellis (bassoon), Jeff Scott (French horn).
The Imani Winds all played sitting down. They performed one piece alone, but with the Wayne Short Quartet onstage (Wayne sat down). Toyin moved her legs around as she played.
Then the Wayne Shorter Quartet played one piece with the Imani Winds. Before it started, Wayne pointed out some things on the sheet music to Valerie (she sat to his left). Wayne performed this piece sitting down.
After the end of this piece, they all stood up in the front of the stage and took a bow, arm-in-arm at 7:21 PM. Then they briefly left the stage and then returned for an encore.
They performed one piece; then again they all stood up in the front of the stage and took a bow, arm-in-arm at 7:40 PM.
I enjoyed the whole performance, but I don't know what pieces they played.

Same here, on both counts. The only time anyone spoke was when Wayne joked(?) about something but I couldn't hear it.

I have to say that I have found Wayne's music with this quartet to be difficult to follow. (Again, to make clear, this is my observation, my $0.02, and I'm certain I'm in the minority where this group is concerned.) Maybe it was the $40 admission, maybe it was being able to watch the guy in person, maybe both, but this time I got more out of it. However, I thought that when the quartet played together with Imani Winds, somehow this loosened things up and I enjoyed this even more. "Loosened up" might not make sense, seeing how Imani was (largely) reading from scores, but I think this forced the quartet to change its approach.

The program listed Imani Winds' possible selections as being from the following list: Wayne Shorter's Terra Incognita, Pegasus, Prometheus Unbound, the Three Marias; Lalo Schifrin's La Nouvele Orleans, Maurice Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin, Astor Piazzolla's Libertango & Fuga Y Misterio (both arranged by Jeff Scott), Paquito D'Rivera's Kites Over Havana (arranged by Valerie Coleman), Valerie Coleman's Suite: Portraits of Josephine, and Jeff Scott's Homage to Duke.

There was a reception after and the members of the Imani Winds came out to interact with the audience. A three piece band of white guys (undoubtedly music students at Maryland) played on a landing on the stairs: keyboard, acoustic bass, and drummer.
Toyin, the first one out, was especially friendly.

I also saw Chris Vidala, no big surprise since he teaches at the University.

Guy next to me at the bar:
"Is there any charge for the spirits?"
The bartender replied "yes" and so the guy left.
I remarked, "what's he think this is, a wedding?" but then again, I've been charged for drinks at a wedding.

P.S. A minor clarification, those were mouthpiece covers that Wayne set in the piano. Patitucci also kept his bow in there. Whenever I see someone lean up against the piano like Wayne was doing (and Like I've seen Pharoah Sanders do) I'm afraid the lid is going to slam shut.


Posted by funkmasterj at 12:01 AM EDT

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