I had a great Jazz Night Out on Wednesday, July 2nd, when I saw the Patrick Overturf Quintet play Jazz Wednesday at Brothers Drake. I was able to catch a few songs of their Friday afternoon set at Comfest and liked what I saw, so I was glad to have the chance to see two full sets. Vibraphonist Overturf and his group of guitarist Aaron Quinn, violinist Chase Potter, bassist David Wolbert, and drummer Zach Compston tackled a mix of Overturf originals and interesting arrangements of other material, including a handful of lively takes on works by French composer Erik Satie. As Overturf explained from the stage, the band developed a set of Satie’s music for a 2013 composer-focused event at Hal & Al’s, so they have enjoyed continuing to play their unique interpretations in their live sets. I’m still getting a handle on their version of “Gymnopedie No. 1,” but I think their punchy take works well. The second set ended with a reggae/dubstep incarnation of “Gnossienne No. 1,” which looks crazy on paper, but this mischievous concoction was tastefully executed. In the more traditional jazz vein, their rendition of vibes master Bobby Hutcherson’s “Little B’s Poem” was also a treat.
Overturf’s compositions held their own on stage, as tunes like “The Year Without A Summer” and “Paint A Picture” start as mellow numbers that end up exploding into new life. The band also played one of his new untitled compositions, a pleasant tune reminiscent of a Sunday stroll, that will hopefully be graced with a title soon. Though the band’s members are very active in multiple groups around town, they have definitely formed a cohesive unit that interacts gracefully on stage. While all five are talented soloists, the band itself is similarly skilled at providing complementary backing for the distinctive solo voices of Overturf, Potter, and Quinn, building into large improvisations and then diminishing back to the ground floor. The ensemble seemed to be at its most demonstrative behind Potter, swelling to a climax while the violinist churned out lines that managed to be fluid and jagged at the same time. The others’ solos were more restrained, but also made their own noise. The quintet sounded great Wednesday, so look out for future performances.
Shows To See This Week:
Saturday, July 12th: Circus of Cool at Dicks Den. Circus of Cool was started by Don Pavelcik and Lady Monster in 1995, based on Pavelcik’s desire to create a “Rebirth of The Beat,” where they would combine improvised jazz with poetry. Though Pavelcik passed away from thyroid cancer in 1999, the event has continued under the leadership of Krista Kitty, and helped to inspire the founding of an all-jazz stage at Comfest. Poets and musicians brought back the Circus a couple weeks ago on Comfest Saturday, and this Saturday will be a return performance featuring some Dick’s regulars and a collection of talented local poets.
Wednesday, July 16th (6-9pm): fo/mo/deep at at Easton Town Center’s Town Square. The shopping and entertainment complex’s annual “Sounds On The Town” concert series continues to roar with the nuanced grooves of this local fan favorite, fresh off their headlining Friday night set at Comfest. This should be a great chance to enjoy fine funky jazz in a family-friendly environment.
Wednesday, July 16th: Sanctuary at Natalie’s. This local collective is focused on paying tribute to the “electric” period of Miles Davis, from 1968 to 1973. Drummer Tony McClung, guitarist Josh Hill (who also play together in Birdshack and Popgun), and bassist Chris Guthrie lay down a firm foundation for a rotating cast of other fine local musicians. The band seeks to put their own spin on Miles’ music, which you can see in this video from a performance last year at Brothers Drake: