As I mentioned earlier in the week, I caught Ernest Dawkins' New
Horizons Ensemble at a house concert on Saturday.
Holy f*cking cow. Best jazz show I've ever seen. One of the best shows
I've seen, period.
Despite driving 13+ hours from Boston to Cincinnati -- they got in about
five minutes before showtime -- they played two long sets with
incredible intensity and energy. As Carl predicted, they swung hard and
blew free often, but not to the point of atonality -- comparable perhaps
to mid-60s Coltrane but never into harder Ornette Coleman turf.
The quartet was Dawkins on alto, tenor, and percussion, Steve Berry on
trombone, Darius Savage on bass, and Isiah Spencer on drums. It's the
same lineup from Dawkins' last release, "Mean Ameen," minus trumpeter
Maurice Brown. All four are serious heavyweights, but Spencer almost
stole the show -- his drumming is explosive but melodic, and he played
with a huge grin on his face almost the entire night while following
Dawkins thru some (occasionally) serious improv.
The venue is incredible too -- it's an apartment in Cincinnati's
university district (Paul -- it's on Calhoun by Myra's and Mole's
Records) where this hardcore jazz fan hosts shows about once a month.
The acoustics are amazing and the vibe is perfect -- dim lighting and
the walls are covered with a lifelong collection of posters, postcards,
news clippings, etc. Miles & Coltrane share the walls Michael Jordan and
Dr. J. It's BYOB, home cooked food is provided. Just an unbelievable
night of music & community.
Definitely catch Dawkins' group if he's near you. And check out
www.loftsociety.com if you're up for a roadtrip. The next show is the
Andrew Lamb trio on May 20.