To call last nights performance a 'gig' is like calling the Bolshoi Ballet a dance team from Russia.
A very expensive lithograph of Charlie Parker was on display near the bandstand and it was more than just decoration it was a reminder that this presentation was honoring a man who changed the course of musical history with his genius.
Freddie Redd was right in the middle of the NYC bop scene and was privy to the likes of Bird, Bud Powell, Dizzy et al. Redd is the essence of Powell in spirit but the soulful artistry is his alone. Freddie Redd has turned comping in to an art form. His solos are marked by blistering arpeggios and a 'touch' that one has to be born with. The ballad style of this legendary jazz figure has a sweetness that is reminiscent of Tadd Dameron. As Redd sits hunched over the Piano creating magical sounds and a bit of fury, the audience is transfixed by his mastery and explodes into thunderous applause on the final note.
God has wisely prevented mere man from describing 'sound', it has to be heard to convey the sense and feeling. Woodsheds will be occupied by all Pianists who were at this extravaganza. The standard has been set.
Zane Musa drains and wrenches the bottom out of every chorus. He is an edgy player whose energetic style reflects his raw emotion and it worked nicely within the context of this group. I might add that he was aided and abetted by the comping of Redd (as were all of the players) Musa brings it all to the table and it is served up in furious style. Nothing is held back as he 'gets after it' with abandon.
Kevin Tullius is in a class by himself, he is a Drummer of exquisite taste and why not? He plays every instrument in existence which gives him rare insight into the most efficient manner and means to swing to the absolute maximum. Freddie Redd was clearly captivated by his (Tullius') exceptional skill. Redd was cleverly into an 'appogiatura' mode in his interplay with this Drummer. It worked gloriously.
Pat Senatore, he of the velvet sound and the perfect time was the heartbeat of it all and his solos were feats of dexterity, style, and most importantly substance.
Sal Marquez was a most important asset to this ensemble. On the unison parts with Musa it reflected the Bird / Dizzy feel to perfection. Marquez's solos were refulgent and inventive.
The initial set opened with "Scrapple From The Apple" and it was bop heaven from then on. The pervading ambiance was stunning as this tune rocketed into cyberspace. Everyone soloed and the four bar exchanges were dramatic as each player parlayed his time at bat with missionary zeal.
"All The Things You Are" was truly the angels glow that lights the stars. Redd was spellbinding in his pianistic mysticism. One could close their eyes and hear musical provenance in the making as Bud Powell's presence was felt through Redd's power and influence. Zane Musa was into this tune like a hungry dog on a ham sandwich and he ate it up.
"Night And Day" found the piano comping and romping. Marquez was looking speculatively at Redd's magical chord work, and smiling, he put the horn to his lips and blew the house down.
"Lover Come Back To Me" was pure unadulterated NYC BeBop from top to bottom.
"Now's The Time" and it was the time as everyone swung. Senatore's thought provoking solo brought applause from the gathered. litterati as well as the gliteratti.
"Round Midnight" was all that this night promised in one tune, as everyone put total effort into making it work splendidly.
"Cherokee" is still orbiting the universe.. up there with space stations and Mickey Mantle homerun blasts.
Suffice it to say, the past was honored in magnificent fashion by this group of stimulating musicians.
Bird, in his rich voice must have said "My worthy constituents, you have paid me homage and I thank you". And so does everyone who was at this performance. It was real jazz.
Freddie Redd's improvisational genius is unparalleled....
Freddie Redd (p), Sal Marquez (tpt), Zane Musa (as), Pat Senatore (b), Kevin Tullius (d)