The Ron Carter Quartet took the stage on Saturday, July 4 (the penultimate night of the 2015 Montreal International Jazz Festival) at the historic Monument-National, Quebec's oldest operating theater. Carter was accompanied by longtime associates Payton Crossley (drums) and Rolando Morales (percussion), as well as veteran jazz pianist Renee Rosnes, a relatively new member of the group. The band was dressed in suits and ties that harkened back to a bygone era of jazz, when Carter was positioned at it's forefront. Apparently, he always buys ties in threes since Crossley and Morales each had the same one.
The Marc Cary Trio hit le club l'Astral at 9 p.m. on Friday, July 3 as part of the 36th edition of the Montreal International Jazz Festival. The band drove up to Montreal that day after playing their regular Thursday session in Harlem, which ended at 3:30 a.m. early Friday morning. Although the group must have been feeling wiped, they showed no signs of fatigue and delivered two hard-driving, energetic sets of music. "I love this instrument", remarked Cary, giving his Fender Rhodes a little shove,"even if it doesn't work sometimes", referring to some technical difficulties he was having with his instrument. He must have adapted to the situation quickly however because there didn't really seem to be anything wrong with the sound. "The original Fender Rhodes' were built using surplus World War II Airplane parts… Part of what I love about this instrument is that Harold Rhodes used materials of destruction to create something that could bring us together rather than tear us apart".
On Monday, June 29, 2015 at the 36th edition of the Montreal International Jazz Festival, I went to hear two quartets led by two of the most influential guitarists of our time: the Kurt Rosenwinkel New Quartet featuring Aaron Parks (piano and Fender Rhodes), Eric Revis (upright bass), and Allan Mednard (drums) and the John Scofield / Joe Lovano Quartet with Larry Grenadier (upright bass) and Bill Stewart (drums).
The collaboration between Joshua Redman (sax), Reid Anderson (bass), Ethan Iverson (piano), and David King (drums) is one of the most musically successful enterprises in recent memory. The band has been touring together on and off since recording The Bad Plus Joshua Redman (Nonesuch) and played to a nearly sold-out crowd Sunday, June 28 at the historic Theatre Maisonneuve as part of the Montreal International Jazz Festival. The group gave a truly inspiring performance of selections taken entirely from the studio recording, which features compositions from everyone in the band. It was especially interesting to watch the interactions between various members of the group, whether it was Redman cheering on Iverson during a particularly moving melodic part of a piano solo or the musical exchanges between Redman and King, which elicited a lot of the excitement throughout the set.
I was a bit skeptical upon first hearing of The Bad Plus Joshua Redman (Nonesuch). BP members Reid Anderson (bass), Ethan Iverson (piano), and Dave King (drums) have asserted in the past that their trio is a collaborative effort and that each of them strive to contribute equally as players, composers, and artist I wondered how Joshua Redman would change the dynamic of the tightly knit triumvirate who have been playing together for 15 years. When I think of Redman, I picture him as being featured out in front of a rhythm section, not blending within one. He attracts a lot of attention onstage and not only because of his musical prowess. He is an exciting performer who kicks up his knees and bobs up and down and… maybe I am wrong but I seem to remember a performance in Tokyo where he took his shirt off while playing a saxophone solo. The trio rarely invites musicians into their circle of trust and I questioned how Redman would handle the challenge of joining the cohesive, clearly defined unit that is The Bad Plus.