[JPL] Len Dobbin/Montreal Jazz Fest
tr at wfcr.org
Mon Jul 13 09:47:54 EDT 2009
After a number of poignant encounters with friends of Len Dobbin around
Montreal last week, we had a most touching departure yesterday. As my
wife and I drove south on Route 15, we heard a trio of hosts on CKUT
talking about Len and reading notes from Len's daughters and others
attesting to his 13 years of sobriety, a period that encompassed his
years at CKUT. In the last few minutes before the memorial broadcast of
Dobbin's Den began at 11 a.m., they played Billie Holiday's recording of
"I'll Be Seeing You."
While at the festival, we heard outstanding sets by Ornette Coleman;
George Wein's Newport All-Stars, featuring Lew Tabackin, Randy Sandke,
Howard Alden, Peter Washington and Lewis Nash; Houston Person & Bill
Charlap; and Greg Osby's 9 Levels, a sextet of younger players whose
names were all new to me. They included guitarist Nir Felder and pianist
Adam Birnbaum. Osby's set included music by Joe Henderson, Thelonious
Monk, and Duke Ellington's "East St. Louis Toodle-oo." Wein's concert
offered a wonderful array of Ellingtonia, including "Self Portrait of
the Bean," "Johnny Come Lately," "Lotus Blossom," and "The Mooche/Black
and Tan Fantasy." George closed his set, "cleared the house," as he put
it, singing "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," which he
dedicated to Montreal's producers Andre Menard and Alain Simard. It was
a real treat to hear Lew Tabackin on this band. We arrived late for
Ornette but just in time to hear "Lonely Woman," "Turnaround," "Tears
Inside" and more from his quartet with Tany Falanga, Al McDowell
(playing electric bass primarily in a lead guitar manner), and Denardo
Coleman. Ornette is now 79, but the years have done nothing to diminish
his skill at creating those joyous bursts of sound on both alto and
trumpet. He was presented with the Festival's Miles Davis Award. As we
filed out afterwards, I overheard a couple speaking of the irony of this
honor, as Davis once said of Ornette, "Listen to what he writes and
plays...psychologically, the man is all screwed up inside."
Unfortunately, this sort of intemperance is also part of Miles' legacy.
As anticipated, Person and Charlap were sublime in a series of duets
played in the acoustically superb GESU.
We also caught a few tunes by my friend Kim Zombik, who managed to make
the huge stage at the Place des Arts feel intimate. Kim hails from
Northampton, Mass, where she landed the title role in the play "Lady Day
at Emerson's Bar and Grill" several years ago and became more
jazz-oriented as a result. She's recorded for Village Records in Japan
with Richard Wyands and Eric Alexander as sidemen. Kim relocated to
Montreal a couple of years ago and appears often at the Upstairs where
she came to know Len and win his appreciation.
Now it's on to Caramoor, Newport and Tanglewood!
"Jazz à la Mode"
Monday-Friday, 8 - 11 p.m.
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Amherst, MA 01003-9257
tr at wfcr.org
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