Mr. Wright, who began playing saxophone when he was 10 years old, has dedicated the past 25 years to playing improvised music. After a career in education, radical politics and community organizing, he has played in venues around the world, especially in North America and Europe. The saxophonist created his own label, Spring Garden Music, and has released numerous CDs.
Sunday's show features the saxophonist interacting with trumpeter Haynes and guitarist/bassist Morris, 2 fine improvisers in their own right; one expects many creative sparks will fly during the afternoon, warming all the listeners with the joys of improvisational music. For more information, go to www.realartways.org or call 860-232-1006.
It would be easy to dismiss "Variations" as background music, mostly because it rarely gets "loud." However, the strength of the compositions and the joy-filled musical interactions of the George Cotsirilos Trio makes for an inspired program. For more information, go to www.terjoejazz.com.
On the original pieces, there's a real Blue Note Jimmy Smith feel to "Before Noon Comes" (but no Hammond B-3) while "Smoke Screen" uses Deep Purple's "Smoke On the Water" for its inspiration. On the latter track, Archer and Green get "good and greasy" as they create a funky foundation for Rothbard to jam atop. "Maya's Waltz" is a pretty, medium-tempo, ballad with an open structure that allows for good interplay between the Trio members. "See Walk", the longest cut on the CD at 9:22, opens in a Brazilian vein and stays there through Rothbard's long solo but then begins to pick up in intensity after Archer's solid solo as Green really "kicks up" the beat.
"City Colors" insinuates itself into your brain; perhaps, that's because you may recognize several of the melodies but mostly it's the solid interplay of the the Avi Rothbard Trio. On a chilly February day, these "colors" really warm one's soul. For more information, go to rothbardmusic.com.
"Open Spaces" is a sweet ballad with a emotional melody and shimmering brush work. Stephens' deliberate lines and limpid tone reflect the song's title. Smith's solo and his bell-like tones (not unlike the sound of John Abercrombie) shimmer above the splashing cymbals and rich bass lines. Minaie, who has worked with pianists Jean-Michel Pilc and Tigran Hamaysan (among others), is an impressive throughout. His solos are melodic and thoughtful while his rhythmic thrust "rocks" more than "swings" - you can hear him fire on all cylinders on the CD opener "Mr. R.A. The Warrior" and the closing cut "Happy Jungle." The former has an intensity, with the guitarist and saxophonist exchanging "4 bars" while Pederson drives and the bassist pulses. The rhythm section also has its own exchange, complete with its own sparks.
"Street Sense" is so much fun to listen to. The 4 musicians interact with gusto, the melodies and the rhythms engage the listener from the very start and there's nary a dull solo. In the 4 years since his debut, Perry Smith has matured as a composer, arranger and soloist. The results are formidable. For more information, go to www.perrysmithmusic.com.