7 August 2011

Words fail me

Everyone seemed to be excited at the interval but I was speechless. Bill Cunliffe led his trio with horns and it was very, very good. Stratospheric. But what did they play? Some originals but mostly standards, although with some arrangements. As a trio: My funny valentine, Just the way you are, Girl from Ipanema and a few originals. Hmmm. I do sets like that. (Think again: not quite like that). Then after the break, with four horns added to the trio and arrangements by Bill, it was Stolen moments and Hoedown and Recordame. I’ve done them, too (but not quite like that). He played an original Joe Henderson chart of Shade of Jade. When Bill played with Joe Henderson (yes, he played with Joe Henderson for a few gigs), he mostly played standards. Luckily John could supply that chart. John’s played on some Blue Note releases. I guess he had the chart from some outing or session with Joe Henderson. (I think: we are touching on jazz aristocracy here). I liked the tunes from Oliver Nelson; Blues and the abstract truth is a favourite album. Bill’s done a revisit CD for that. I tried to buy it but it was sold out: everyone was buying 5 CDs and there was nothing left when I arrived. In the break, everyone was talking about Bill’s party trick. He got the audience to suggest a jazz tune, a classical tune and a recent pop tune, then to vote on which he should play. In the end, the vote was Summertime, Rachmaninov’s Concerto no. 2 and Billie Jean. Then he played them, medley-like, interspersed and intermingled. Summertime blending in and out with Billie Jean; Rachmaninov too; then Summertime in a classical full-handed chord style, presumably à la Rachmaninov; then Billie Jean with Summertime fillers. No preparation; no charts. I’m awestruck. On stage, Eric and John were clapping with obvious respect. That’s when I decided words couldn’t do it. But words are all I have. Great trio; great visitors. The horns were great, too. Tight and beautifully intonated, and some great solos. Eric too. John without mention. Great night. Standards as they can be. Stunning and one for the memories. Words fail me.

Bill Cunliffe (piano, arrangements) led a trio with Eric Ajaye (bass) and John Riley (drums). For the second set they added four horns: Rob Lee (trombone), Miroslav Bukovsky (trumpet), Niels Rosendahl (alto, soprano saxes) and John Mackey (tenor sax).

1 comment:

Bob said...

Great review Eric. I also liked Port Authority with the group.