A Jazz Evening

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Rudy

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Got home about an hour ago from seeing a triple-bill...with a bonus.

Opening the evening was a short set by David Benoit. Three tracks from his latest album Fuzzy Logic (including his cover of a popular Smashmouth song), "M.W.A.", and two Peanuts songs. Too short!! While I hadn't heard of his other band members, they did have a lot of rapport.

Following Benoit was Jean-Luc Ponty, my second time seeing him in the past year. Again, it was a shorter set (albeit longer than Benoit's), and even included an encore. This is one band I'd recommend seeing! They all hail from Paris. Two of his band are held over from his African album Tchokola, and the other two (William LeComte and Thierry Arpino) are from Paris originally. AFAIK, Ponty is only touring a few more dates on this short visit to the U.S., but this band is incredibly tight. LeComte--I'd like to nickname him "sequencer hands", as he's able to reproduce some of the parts by hand, in perfect time, that were originally done with a sequencer! While Jean-Luc brought out his Barcus Berry onstage, he played the entire set with the Zeta (which has a much brighter sound).

Following Ponty were The Rippingtons, led by Russ Freeman...and featuring Eric Marienthal in the sax position. I'm no bigger a fan of Rippingtons than when I went in and, actually, only recognized a couple of the songs. (I own a couple of their earlier recordings.) The encore, finally, featured three songs I recognized. The first song, I remember, got a lot of radio airplay here in the early 90's. The last two...how can I put this? Freeman turned up the distortion on his guitar, and started playing....."Purple Haze"!! It threw all of us for a loop! Not only that, he followed that with "Fire" (another Hendrix tune). Funny that it seems like they finally woke up to play the encore! Not that their set was bad (they're all great musicians)...just somewhat repetitive.

It was just as much fun watching the crowd. Some of the audience members would have been more at home at a Doobie Bros. or CCR concert! Long hair, scruffy looking...these turned out to be long-time Jean-Luc Ponty fans, part of the loyal following from his mid 70's Atlantic recordings. (And I half expected the audience to empty out after Ponty left the stage :wink: ) Also ran into a couple of girls we met at the Steely Dan concert two years ago. :D

Not much else coming to Detroit this summer. August 25 brings George Benson and Natalie Cole, which may be interesting. (Despite his "pop" leanings, Benson does put on a good, entertaining live show with plenty of guitar playing.) There's a free jazz festival in Trenton this weekend also, but not much to compel me to head down there. Last year's headliners were Joe Sample, Chuck Mangione and Yellowjackets. This year it's Keiko Matsui and Peter White. (Peter White I'd seen in Basia's band about a decade ago, just about the time he released his first solo recording.) We used to have a Montreux/Detroit Jazz Festival, but now it's been renamed, and it doesn't draw the headlining acts like it used to 10-15 years ago. :sad:

-= N =-
...finally winding down...
 

Captain Bacardi

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Rudy said:
Following Ponty were The Rippingtons, led by Russ Freeman...and featuring Eric Marienthal in the sax position. I'm no bigger a fan of Rippingtons than when I went in and, actually, only recognized a couple of the songs.

Once you've them do one song, the rest are the same. :cool: I actually liked them when they first came out, but they just ran that formula to the ground. I used to hear a lot of their stuff on the Weather Channel. I guess that beats having it played in a K Mart. :D


Capt. Bacardi
NP: Ray Charles - Genius + Soul = Jazz
 

Rudy

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That's one thing that has bothered me about The Rippingtons: they're all great musicians, but heck, they played a lot of tracks from Life In The Tropics that all had similar tropical titles, and similar sounding arrangements. The songs with the Latin edge to them (like "South Beach Mambo") were better, since the rhythm section got a workout. This is the type of band that would make a good compilation CD. They never did play "Aspen" (my favorite Ripps track), and unfortunately Marienthal only got to do one of his own tunes (and it wasn't "Mercy Mercy Mercy").

More amusing to watch was the girl who was Freeman's guitar tech--she was running and jumping around constantly. Kept the guitars in tune, and between each song, was running up and changing guitars.

The Ripps are almost a contemporary jazz version of Blakey's Jazz Messengers. If you look at the past member roster, you see a lot of familiar names that would have recorded for GRP back in the 80's and 90's. (Even Benoit was a Rippington at one time.) The only long-time member is bassist Kim Stone (who sang the Hendrix tunes in the encore).

I had two CDs by a former Rippingtons percussionist, Steve Reid. Another great musician, but couldn't write his way out of a hole. Take the Rippingtons basic sound, remove 90% of the energy, write a wandering melody that really goes nowhere, and you had it pegged. And the percussion was atmospheric at best. ZZZzzzZZZzzz....

Is it me, or do the Rippingtons sound like a smoother version of Shadowfax?

-= N =-
NP: The Legendary Lou Rawls, "Dead End Street" (already did the Ray Charles today...)
 

Brasil_66_Fan

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Rudy said:
Not much else coming to Detroit this summer...

I must take exception to this statement - my favorite rock group, THE WHO at the Palace on Aug. 23rd!! (Yes, I listen to more than just Sergio...). If you mean "Not much else Jazz-wise...", OK. Now that you've got me started, I've got another story to tell: In May, 1969 my friend and I saw The Who at the old Grande Ballroom in Detroit (near Olympia Stadium, for the Red Wing Fan!), and I remember being disappointed because most of their set was new, unfamiliar material (which turned out to be Tommy!). In the new Who book that my kids just got me for my birthday, it states that this gig was their first stateside stop in which Tommy was presented, culminizing in the Woodstock festival which brought them mainstream fame. Saw them again in 1989 at the Silverdome, in 2000 at the Palace and Gund Arena (Cleveland) and hopefully again this month. When I stopped at the Palace box office on my lunch hour today, all they had left were last row, upper bowl seats, so maybe I'll wait until day before, when some good seats come up (hopefully). So despite John's death, they still seem to be 'Selling Out' (pun intended).
And how about this irony - the band's drummer (Keith Moon) and bassist (John Entwistle) are gone, but the Beatle's drummer (Ringo) and bassist (Paul) are the only surviving members...
 

Rudy

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Well, I "Can't Explain" what's going on! :wink:

Jazzwise...not much coming up. The festival in Trenton last year had Joe Sample, Yellowjackets and Chuck Mangione. Peter White is there (or was--the festival started today), and Keiko Matsui will be there on Sunday. We did see Sanborn this year, but the acoustics at Chene Park leave a lot to be desired! (The covered area is basically built like a clamshell...and has about a six second reverb to it.) One possible bright spot is George Benson and Natalie Cole at Freedom Hill.

The rock tours this summer aren't too big of a deal. I'd have seen Styx if Dennis DeYoung and Chuck Panozzo were in the band. (It's like seeing Count Basie without the Count and Freddie Green IMHO!) Chicago are at Pine Knob tomorrow evening, and I was almost leaning toward going up there for it!

The Who...what can I say? I was really wavering whether to go or not. I'm only a recent fan of The Who, since I first bought the original CD of Who's Next in the mid 80's, and have since replaced it with a really nicely remastered copy, and have a few other Who CDs alongside it. (It's actually a pleasure to discover those album tracks that radio never touches!) It's unfortunate, though, with Entwistle not being there. I didn't mind The Who with Kenney Jones (I have their 1982 Toronto concert on video), but w/o Entwistle, "Boris" will never be the same! :confused:

And what about the Stones? I'd really be split on that one. Can't say I'm a HUGE Rolling Stones fan, but my brother-in-law (who was in college when albums like Let It Bleed were popular) would probably be ecstatic if I got hooked up with tickets! When I taped their tour for Bridges To Babylon from DirecTV and gave it to him, it was probably better than any other gift he got that Xmas!

The only thing I've really regretted missing was BR5-49, who played at The Ark in Ann Arbor. It's certainly close enough, and prices were $15/ticket. Would have been a nice evening!

-= N =-
 

Brasil_66_Fan

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Rudy said:
I was really wavering whether to go or not.

At $60+ for nosebleed seats, I'm wavering too.


I'm only a recent fan of The Who, since I first bought the original CD of Who's Next in the mid 80's,

My favorite Who (and rock) album of all!


It's unfortunate, though, with Entwistle not being there.

Yes, the finest rock bassist in the world IMHO. If you haven't seen it yet, watch their latest VHS/DVD from the 2000 concert tour for Entwistle at his finest...


I didn't mind The Who with Kenney Jones

Kenney really didn't have much style but their current drummer, Zak Starkey (Ringo's son) reminds me of Keith in a lot of ways, not to mention he's head over heels better than his dad! And another irony...
Can't say I'm a HUGE Rolling Stones fan

I'm not either.


The only thing I've really regretted missing was BR5-49, who played at The Ark in Ann Arbor. It's certainly close enough, and prices were $15/ticket. Would have been a nice evening!

Take it from me; don't pass up very many concerts or you'll regret it in your later years! Ex. - Cream, Jefferson Airplane, The Who at Masonic Auditorium (or anytime for that matter!), Led Zeppelin, etc, etc.
 
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