What follows is a glowing sample of what the masters of any art do, communally and individually: assembling without fanfare for a common purpose, speaking their piece in turn, collaborating to create something beautiful that never existed before.
The inspiring Dan Block (reed master, here playing tenor saxophone) got together with friends and peers at the informal Thursday night session at the 2014 Allegheny Jazz Party and showed us — without being didactic — how it is done.
The friends are Harry Allen, tenor saxophone; Dan Barrett, trombone; Rossano Sportiello, piano; Jon Burr, string bass; Pete Siers, drums. The text for their sweet explorations was FALLING IN LOVE WITH LOVE — by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, but presented without Hart’s rather dark lyrics, and moved into a lilting swing rhythm for us:
I think music-making at this level is an absolute gift, given freely and generously by the finest artists. Happily, they were performing for an attentive, hushed audience who were, in every sense of the phrase, “getting it.” Gifts like these come back to the givers. See the contented smiles on the faces of the musicians as they bask in the warmth of their own creations. Not immodestly, but joyously, congratulating each other on creating such an uplifting community.
This beauty — in varied hues — sprang to life often during the Allegheny Jazz Party. I am certain such beauty will flourish again in September 2015.
But that’s a long way away, so let me point you to something closer (if you live in New York or environs). I will be away, so you have to see and hear for yourself.
The Dan Block Quintet will offer a program he calls “Mary Lou Williams and Benny Carter Meet Hard Bop” at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola (that’s Broadway and 60th Street) on Wednesday, October 8th. Sets are at 7:30 and 9:30 PM. The Quintet is Dan, saxophone; Adam Birnbaum, piano; Godwin Louis, alto saxophone; Jennifer Vincent, string bass; Alvester Garnett, drums. One may reserve by phone (212-258-9595) or in person after 6P.M. daily at the club. It’s a $30 cover, $20 for students.
Block, Allen, Barrett, Sportiello, Burr, Siers — all masters. Follow them and be uplifted.
May your happiness increase!