William Parker – bass
Daniel Carter – soprano sax
Watson Jennison – flute
Federico Ughi – drums
While sitting at the upstairs bar at the Thunderbird Cafe awaiting William Parker and company to take the stage, a woman sat down near me and said, “Are you guys here for the music?”. I said that I was and then, shortly after, she said something like, “So what are some places around town where I can see jazz……like, THIS stuff? NOT, you know……like…..ELEVATOR jazz.” I stumbled for a second, and I know I left out some places, but told her that lately, the T-Bird, occasionally James Street, and anything Ben Opie is involved with is pretty much it.
That conversation was a nice prelude to the set of music that followed it. By saying “THIS stuff”, I don’t think she necessarily meant anything as specific as “Free” jazz or “Avant-garde” or whatever. I took it to mean real jazz or just real music. The Daniel Carter/William Parker/Federico Ughi/Watson Jennison Quartet plays real music. This was what I enjoyed most about their 90 minute set last night…the spontaneity, the “now-ness”, the seeming lack of any feeling of obligation to “entertain” a certain group of people.
The set, overall, was a bit loose and varied. I felt that it could have been slightly more cohesive and focused. It also could have been, and I sort of expected it to be, a bit more fiery and intense. But I thought it was quite enjoyable. Jennison and Carter (and even Parker) played such a variety of woodwinds and brass instruments that I couldn’t list them all here. Carter had more of a lead role, mostly on saxophones, for most of the set while Watson Jennison sort of filled in with alot of nice atmospheric, textural type sounds. Parker’s bass could have been turned up, but the audience was quiet enough throughout that it could definitely be heard.
Since I was seated in the back of the room, I didn’t really have a chance for any really good photos or videos. Maybe somebody near the front was more fortunate. But I did manage to capture a few minutes of shaky footage on my phone shown in the video above. A clip like this doesn’t really do this music justice. You kind of have to be there. But it does give you a glimpse. Enjoy.