I heard Barry Harris’ trio at William Paterson university yesterday. They mostly played standards from the great American songbook, but also played a few Theologies Monk compositions including ‘Round Midnight’ and ‘Off Minor’. These songs In particular were played In a very tasteful manner. A lot of Plano players often try too hard to be or sound like Theologies Monk when playing Monk’s songs. As Harold Member once said in one of my ensembles at William Paterson (regarding what I’m addressing) “it’s like guys always want to out-Monk Monk.
That’s why I don’t play Monk tunes”. Now this Is something that I don’t particularly Like either, so, It’s refreshing when a Plano player can play a Monk song and still be halls/herself while incorporating just the right amount of Monk’s style/concept. Barry Harris clearly displayed the difference between trying to “out-Monk Monk” and paying homage to Monk by playing his songs in an honest, genuine, unpretentious, relaxed way. Parry’s trio has been playing together for a long time so they play together In a very unified way.
The hookup between the bass player(Ray Drummond), the drummer(Leroy Williams) and Barry was very solid but open or loose at the same time. Any of them could choose to play behind or on top of the beat, but were always aware of the flow and the overall tempo. Often when one member of a band tries to play behind or on top of the beat(especially with young and/or unseasoned musicians), the rest of the band or someone in the rhythm section may adjust to their time potentially causing the music to speed up or slow down.
Parry’s trio(all seasoned older Jazz musicians) had very minimal tempo fluctuations but had a tremendous amount of breath wealth the beats. Their maturity and experience In life and playing this music for such a long time has granted them with the utmost patience and composure which enables them to achieve what they do musically. It’s a blessing and an honor to get to hear veteran musicians Like this play LIVE because they really know what they’re doing and a lot of them passed away before my generation was even born.
Another thing a picked up from this concert and other concerts I’ve heard in the sat featuring senior citizen Jazz veterans is that they often play so tastefully because they don’t have the endurance or physical ablest to play extremely busy or fast. They already proved that they could be flashy when they were young. Now they Just give it their all and play music within the confines of there brain, body, and soul while being aware of their current technical abilities. All the members of this band still have the ability to play fast or busy, but they save their energy for the right moments ND don’t chop out for no reason.
As result, no one seemed to step on anyone’s feet. Another interesting thing about this concert was that the band didn’t seem to have any arrangements pre-rehearsed, but they clearly know so many of the classic arrangements of Jazz standards that other Plano trios have done In the past because heard them go into some of them: mainly Bud Powell endings, and other things that arrangement or part of one and the drummer and bass player would always know how to accompany/react. It was a very inspiring concert.