Kobie had kept his lineup secret leading up to this gig. What a pleasant surprise! He'd collected John Brown on bass, Aaron Hill on alto/soprano, Lynn Grissett on trumpet (& recording equipment), & Charlotte-based pianist Lavelle Bratford (who's worth hearing on his own) to deliver an evening of swinging post-millennial hard-bop to an almost sold-out crowd. Most tunes were penned by Kobie, who--like many local musicians--is working towards a new CD. Again, I feel lucky to have been lured by his "Grouptet". I suspect there'll be another version to play locally soon...
I could be very busy next week because there are performances that intrigue me:
--Tuesday night singer/cellist (& Cirque de Soleil perfomer) Shana Tucker appears at the Carolina Theatre. I must admit I'm primarily interested in--though liking Tucker--local trumpeter Al Strong either opening for her &/or playing with her. Al's always worth hearing (see the review of last night at Pinhook).
--Wednesday night at Carrboro's Arts Center, DC-based saxophonist Brad Linde has organized a locavore & extravore big band to play contemporary jazz by Australian Elliott Hughes. At $6/7 a ticket, it's cheap at twice the price & worth taking a flyer on.
--Thursday night UNC student drummer Atticus Reynolds (who's good) leads a good honoring Art Blakely & the Jazz Messengers by playing tunes composed by former Messengers (the best example: Wayne Shorter). This could be another little gem.
--Friday night pianist Eric Hirsh plays opposite & with the local Avante jazz acapella group at Motorco. A great combination. Another little gem?
I also note that revered extravore guitarist John Abercrombie is sold out at Sharp Nine, where sold-out performances are coming regularly...
Local band Zoocru w/ Al Strong & guest guitarist Matthew Stevens & his quartet put on fine, energizing shows at Pinhook last night, produced by Art of Cool. Both mostly played high-tempo jazz that some might classify as funk or rock or indie jazz, though the drumming was mainly jazzish, propelling new melodies & fine solos.
This was the best Zoocru performance I've seen. Neo-millennial funkish jazz.
Meanwhile, Matthew Stevens's quartet challenged the clichés of what used to be called fusion jazz. Yes, the tempos & sound were fierce, but the playing was jazz. And, the band sounded pretty tight, especially Lnda Oh's quietly, steadily assertive bass playing, & drummer Eric Doob's stoking the engine in tune with the overall sound.
OK, I've lived through the jazz-rock & fusion era, & these days we find many combinations of jazz styles, to the point where old labels don't work (particularly if you take them too seriously).
Peter Burke has liked jazz since he was in high school. Having lived & worked in exotic places with & without local jazz scenes, he has also led a Guide To Local Jazz class in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Duke.