13 April 2007

Eugene Wright - add your comments below

"Senator" Eugene Wright was Brubeck's bassist on the Take 5 sessions and a stalwart of the LA jazz scene who played with many other influential jazzers. He's just played at White Eagle with Anita Thomas (reeds), Mike Price (guitar) and Mark Sutton (drums). I couldn't make the gig, so I invite your input. Add your comments below. Over to you. If you have pics, send to me for later publication.

Thanks to those who left comments. More welcome. Looks like I missed a great show. Thanks esp to Luba Thompson for the great review and these pics.


Anonymous said...

The Senator is the man!!! Nothing like good old straight up swinging, interactive and subtle jazz! Mike played so well im with Mr wright and he seemed to be really enjoying himself. The senator was having lots of fun on stage and was having a great time playing with mark and mike calling out "yeah" at every new creative turn mikes solos took.

I havent heard mike play that creatively in ages taking one idea or motif or sound througha whole chorus at a time. it was all so subtle with all the players listening to each other so so well. dynamics were really effective.

The senators charisma was as huge as the man himself with the crowd instantly warming to him. i havent seen someone with as much excitement or energy for music in a long time- let alone when your as old and experienced as him.

in conclusion mikes a god and people missed out if you werent there!!

Anonymous said...

“The Master and his Apprentice”
“The Anita Thomas Quartet” April 19th White Eagle Club

Eugene Wright is one of the all time great American jazz bassists most famous for his work as a member of The Dave Brubeck Quartet (1958-68). His opening line during his concert at the White Eagle last Thursday night “I’m here as a guest” is testament of his humility considering that he has played with many jazz greats (including Count Basie, Carmen McRae, Buddy de Franco, Cal Tjader, Kai Winding, Karen Hernandez, Sonny Stitt, Gene Ammons, Dottie Dodgion, Lee Shaw, Paul Desmond, Art Blakey and Monty Alexander). Not only is “The Senator” an outstanding musician, he is also an outstanding human being who took time to chat to and connect with his audience throughout the night. Eugene Wright came to Australia at the request of Anita Thomas who described him as “my mentor, my teacher, my Godfather.” There is an obvious respect, mutual admiration and fabulous musical communication between “The Senator” and Anita and it is not surprising that Wright took her “under his wing.”
The concert opened with a Medley comprising of the Duke Ellington tune “Let a Song Go out of my Heart” and “Close Enough for Love.” The piece opened with a soulful bass solo where Wright constantly interacted with the audience, when he was not singing, caressing his bass or doing a dance. Anita’s (bass clarinet) solo was very expressive and demonstrated her mastery of this instrument. The connection between all musicians, Eugene Wright, (bass), Anita Thomas ( reeds), Mike Price (guitar) and Mark Sutton (drums) was amazing and the delight in each others’ contributions was etched on each person’s face. There was a very spirited rendition of “St Thomas” when Anita and Eugene not only took turns to solo, but demonstrated their fancy footwork too. The piece concluded on a whimsical note with a much quieter, gentler Mark Sutton (drums–mostly brushwork) playing a delicate “ppp” while Anita and Eugene performed a soft shoe shuffle. The second set began with a Latin feel in Kenny Durham’s song, “Blue Bossa” with Anita playing alto saxophone. Mike’s solo was beautifully crafted and contained very soft, gentle passages. “Stars Fell on Alabama” was a well shaped conversation between all members of the quartet.

One of the highlights of the night was Wright’s composition “African Chant Suite” in which Eugene plays and sings different version of chants from many countries including Africa, New Zealand and Afghanistan. Anita demonstrated her versatility by inter-changing between instruments to suit the sound palette of the countries represented, Mark accompanied with gentle congo-like drums while Mike produced sounds reminiscent of an African Cora. In the Afghanistan/Iraqi section, Wright convincingly reproduced Middle-eastern harmonies in his vocal and bass lines. Another highlight was “The Senator’s” signature tune “Take 5” which brought the house down. The encore piece, “Saba Casa” was a Bee-Bop tune “especially for young folk on the wall.” This contrasted well with previous pieces and demonstrated the Senator’s youthful outlook and “Joi-de-vivre!” The evening was an unforgettable treat. For those who missed hearing “this legend” in Canberra he will be performing at other venues in Australia including in Paddington/Woollahra RSL, Sydney on Wednesday, May 9th, 2007. L.T.

Anonymous said...

Man, it would be worth a trip to Australia to see Eugene Wright, he is one of my all time bass heroes, I learnt to play walking lines through transcribing his work ! I would sincerely love to meet him.