POETIC: MICHAEL KANAN, JOEL PRESS, SEAN SMITH, JOE HUNT (Smalls, May 13, 2011)

There are many first-rate jazz players and many inspiring ones — but only a few reach deeply into the poetry at the heart of the music. 

Last Friday, May 12, 2011, I saw four of these jazz poets at work at Smalls: Michael Kanan, piano; Joel Press, tenor and soprano sax; Sean Smith, bass; Joe Hunt, drums.  Their two sets reached heights that even the best music doesn’t always attain.

I could attempt to describe what I heard in words: Joel’s soulful, conversational approach to melody and his rhythmic energies; Michael’s thoughtful, surprising lines and deep harmonies; Sean’s pulse and empathy; Joe’s array of sweetly musical sounds that embrace the group and push it along.  The animation this quartet brought to well-known material.  But I’d rather let these shining performances speak for themselves . . .

THAT OLD FEELING:

INDIANA:

LOVER MAN:

ERONEL:

BLUES FOR LESTER:

Pure poetry — deep art that doesn’t call attention to itself but lingers in the mind and the heart.  And there’s more to come.

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4 responses to “POETIC: MICHAEL KANAN, JOEL PRESS, SEAN SMITH, JOE HUNT (Smalls, May 13, 2011)

  1. Pingback: POETIC: MICHAEL KANAN, JOEL PRESS, SEAN SMITH, JOE HUNT (Smalls, May 13, 2011) | Jazz News

  2. Another great group!! You are so right,,,this music is pure poetry, and does linger in your mind and heart, I am so glad there is more to come!! Thx NM

  3. Michael – Thanks very much for posting these videos. My friend Joe Hunt mentioned this gig in an email to me just last week, and now I get to see it. Since I live 3000 miles away now, I don’t get to see him play much anymore so this was almost as good as being there. I’ll be looking forward to more!

  4. John Trudinger

    Thank you Michael for introducing me to the music of Joel Press. I had not heard of him. Now I have ordered his CDs.

    P.S. You may not have heard that Australian pianist Ben Johnston, died recently in Ireland. Ben was a regular at Bob Barnard’s Jazz Paty and appears on numerous Nif Nuf recordings. He was 39!

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