Hays Street Hart at Smoke Jazz Club presented tunes from their Bridges Record Release tonight. As I sat in the sold-out performance the sounds I heard reminded me of the incredible importance of the jazz trio (aka rhythm section). From the first few bars, I imagined the work of Bill Evans, bassist Scott LaFaro, and drummer Paul Motian—or perhaps Oscar Peterson with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen.
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Conrad Herwig and The Latin Side All-Stars at The Django brought forth classic, expressive jazz. Herwig enriched it with the syncopation, excitement, and complexity of Latin rhythm, the pathos of Coltrane, and a dash of the rhythmic drive of Bebop. After the band played the head, solos didn’t just follow the tune’s melody, a technique common with jazz players. Solos inhabited the structure of bar lines, chords, and powerful rhythms in personal contexts. The complex relationships between improvised melodies, structures, and rhythm resulted in rich, abstract, and contextual meanings for listeners. It was fantastic!