23 August 2009

Earthy and with a history

I’ve been writing up James LeFevre quite a bit lately, what with his Minque gig and his graduation, so just a short note and some pics. James led his new Quintet for an ArtSound broadcast last Friday. It was a mix of old and new. Old like the Gary Bartz tune, Eastern blues, that they’ve been playing forever. It’s a favourite arrangement of mine, with a line that insinuates with earthy simplicity but unexpected , oddly truncated repeats. This bluesy feel and some funk and grooves are standard for the band. James observed that their first CD, Point A, didn’t have any II-IV-I turnarounds and not even any swing passages. The band’s like that. Kay Chinnery is new on drums, and introduces a “dirty”, down-home feel. Guitar also replaces keyboards, with Matt Lustri playing funky and sometimes spacey. Chris Pound was not the first bassist, but he’s been around a while. He’s always reliable and sweetly toned and grooves well. Rob Lee is the perennial, along with James. Trombone seems such a popular instrument with musos, despite its low awareness for many listeners. It’s fat and brassy-clear and honey-like and seems to complement other instruments so well. I enjoyed watching over Rob’s shoulder as he played written lines, observing how he dropped some notes and interpreted quavers and triplets with considerable flexibility and personality. This is the jazz approach, of course, but it’s interesting to be watching it in real time. A nice, earthy outing of a band with local history.

The James LeFevre Quintet featured James LeFevre (tenor), Rob Lee (trombone), Matt Lustri (guitar), Chris Pound (bass) and Kay Chinnery (drums).

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