Sunday, April 29, 2012

Wayne Shorter quartet at Lincoln Center


4/29/12 09:27 Traffic on the LIE was heavy in Queens. I watched as time extra time I gave myself seep away as the car crawled in the fast lane. No accidents reported on the radio, it was Saturday night west bound traffic heading into the city. When I feel myself getting stressed out, I put it in God’s hand. Like life the traffic is not in my control, but I looked for openings and weaved in and around some drivers. Crossed over Ed Koch Bridge, down to 58th and across town and up Eighth but had to circle around Columbus once like a fool - I cursed out loud for following the GPS. I parked the car with minutes to get inside. Walked past a long line waiting to get tickets and took a cramped elevator up. I was closer to a young man, so much I could smell his hair. Found where I had to go, around and up the stairs. Minutes… then the rush dispelled as I took my seat. I took in the warmth of the Rose Theatre, which enhanced the show as the colors in the room faded to deep red and blues. I knew I was in for something special. Lincoln Center has created a unique theatre. When it comes to going to jazz concerts, I accepted the stark reality years ago, I will go by myself; ever since Betty Carter at the Bottom Line when Freddie Hubbard made a guest appearance. Go alone. There are not many jazz fans. But the isolation in the crowd allows me to absorb the music, the lights, and the long shadows in the corners. The lights dimmed. Wayne Shorter’s quartet walked out onto the stage. Mr. Shorter walked slowly with a slight bent back and appeared heavier than when I saw him perform at Carnegie Hall at Ron Carter’s 70th birthday celebration. I’ve seen the quartet’s drummer Brian Blade perform at Birdland with Pharaoh Sanders and became a fan. He played on a vintage Gretsch drum kit and from resources the bass is extremely rare. If you have an opportunity to see him, stop everything and go. The man explodes on the stool, kicking and bouncing but maintains a disciplined monk like rhythm. He used a towel at one point, making a soft sound over his bass. The bassist John Patitucci and Brian were going back and forth in union. I was distracted more by watching those two than Shorter who leaned against the grand piano as the pianist Danilo Perez played at times haunting music. The group has played together for ten years, they gelled together, the moment Mr. Shorter raised his two fingers they carried the last song for an extra measure. It appeared as if Shorter had some difficulty with his tenor and switched back to the alto. What distinguishes each performance is Wayne’s ability to create a new sound. His minimal approaches reminded me of Miles Davis, but this group continues to create their own standards.

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