Review: Westword Music Showcase @ Dazzle - 6/16/07
Westword Music Showcase
June 16, 2007
Better than: Hot sex on a wedding night.
After Willie Houston & the Blues Prowlers heated things up at Dazzle, Tempa & the Tantrums raised the temperature a notch and man, the girl got the room cooking. While Dazzle’s usually a sit-down venue, Tempa turned literally turned the room into a New Orleans-style party. She fired up the joint with some straight ahead blues, slinked through King Floyd’s bluesy funky “Groove Me,” followed by a zydeco-soaked cut, which got some folks dancing in front of the stage.
Tyler Gilmore, Dazzle’s booking manager, brought up his 17-piece 9th & Lincoln Orchestra next. Gilmore assembled some of Denver’s finest musicians to interpret his and other Orchestra player’s compositions, as well tunes he’s arranged. Although sill in his in twenties, Gilmore proved, with this set, that he’s got skills far beyond his years. And he isn’t the only one. Greg Harris joined the group on vibes, while Paul Romaine laid down the funk backbeat on one song. Alto sax player Curtis Adams, guitarist Matt Fuller also did some first-rate work when called on to solo, as did trumpeter Brad Goode on Gilmore’s original composition “Sketching Restraint.”
Hands down, Harris earns the nod as hardest working musician at this year’s Showcase. By the time he hooke up with 9th and Lincoln, the guy had already played two back-to-back sets with other groups, and his third set was with his own group, the Greg Harris Vibe Quintet. (He would also join the Bottissini Project in the next set). Harris said during the set that the group has been together for eight years, and they we all really good friends, which was obviously in their interplay with each other. They group opened with “Frames,” the first track on his Frames Live, record live at Dazzle last year. Since it was already a bit hot in the room from the heat and the music, the group slowed it down on “Azalea,” a tune written just a month ago and only being performed for the second time ever on Saturday. Guitarist Matt Fuller injected a few Bill Frisell elements into his solo, while the Quintet delved into a few other cuts from Frames Live and closed with slinky cut “Flank Fuzz.”
Every time Paul Riola Bottissini’s Project performs it’s a completely different experience, since different players sit in on various gigs and usually everything they do is completely improvised. Glenn Taylor is in on most of those gigs, and it’s obvious why: The guy coaxes some wonderful stuff out of his pedal steel, sounding more like experimental guitarist Steve Tibbetts than any Nashville session player out there. On the group’s second cut, the Project delved into something that could have been used in a car chase scene from a ‘50s French film noir, almost like one of the faster cuts from the soundtrack to Louis Malle’s film Elevator to the Gallows, which Miles Davis wrote the score. Riola blew some fierce tenor on the cut. Later, the players were joined by lauded trumpeter Ron Miles.
Ron Miles’ “Blossom” band closed out the evening, sounding as gorgeous as ever playing songs from a record by the same name. His tone was magical, especially on cuts such as“I’ll Be There,” originally recorded by the Jackson 5. Guitarist Roger Green and pedal steely player Glenn Taylor created some spacious textures for Miles to solo over. At one point, Green played a loop on his guitar as Miles, using circular breathing, held one note for what seemed like an eternity. While Miles was slated for 45-minute set, after an nearly an hour, the standing room only crowd wanted a whole lot more. For the encore, the group plunged into a Middle Eastern-tinged number. Jill Frederickson laid down a seriously fat beat while the usually mild mannered Green literally screamed on his guitar, which was awash in layers of distortion. -- Jon Solomon
Personal Bias: A big fan of the talent assembled in the room.
Random Detail: A bit of a skirmish ensued after Tempa’s set, but I won’t get into that.
By the Way: This may have been the jazz show of the year.