Billy Hart at the Jackson Theater, June 4
“Want to know what jazz is really about? Listen to Billy Hart.”
— Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press
Sponsors: Chalk Hill Estate, Roth Winery, North Coast Brewing Cº., Young’s Market Cº
Saturday presents the bands Billy led in the 1970s and ’80s, opening with Quest, a co-op founded in 1981. Featuring Dave Liebman (like Billy, a Miles Davis veteran) on saxophones and flute, Quest is a band of contrasts – fire and ice, forest and river. Liebman, a Coltrane acolyte, blends remarkably well with impressionistic pianist Richie Beirach, who cut his teeth with Stan Getz, Chet Baker and Lee Konitz. Bassist Ron McClure – well known for his stint in Charles Lloyd’s incredibly popular late-’60s band — is a simmering player who along with Billy’s subtle polyrhythms powers a band of co-equals.
Enchance, which released a landmark album of the same name in 1977, consists of a who’s who of great players from the ’70s and ’60s. Master bassist Dave Holland brought in the legacy of Miles Davis, whirlwind pianist Don Pullen came off a long tenure with Charles Mingus, astringent saxophonist Dewey Redman had been the tenor foil for alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman.
And what history did Billy Hart bring to the party? Well by then he had already played in the bands of Shirley Horn, Otis Redding, Jimmy Smith, Wes Montgomery, McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock – and on and on. Enchance captured the ferment and excitement of a neglected period in jazz, when the breakthroughs of the 1960s (engineered by many of the people on the record) were leading to new creative possibilities.
On Saturday the Enchance lineup will be Hart, the legendary Dave Holland, subtle piano practitioner Craig Taborn (replacing Pullen, RIP), tenor sax star Joshua Redman (replacing his father Dewey, RIP), blazing alto saxophonist Oliver Lake and trumpeter-of-a-thousand-colors Eddie Henderson.