Sunday, February 5, 2006

The Statesmen of Jazz

While the majority of Chattanoogans were watching the Superbowl tonight, a relatively small group of us were at UTC's Roland Hayes Concert Hall to enjoy The Statesmen of Jazz (part of the Patten Performances series). The turnout was impressive for a Superbowl Sunday, and the crowd was treated to some wonderful improvisational jazz. Tonight's concert featured (pictured above, from left) John Bunch on piano, Wycliffe Gordon on trombone, Earl May on bass, Bucky Pizzarreli on guitar, Jackie Williams on drums, Warren Vaché on trumpet, and Houston Person on sax.

Here's a closer look at Wycliffe Gordon and Warren Vaché.

According to the program, "the Statesmen of Jazz was organized in 1994 as a pilot program sponsored by the American Federation of Jazz Societies. It has since grown to become a premier performing and educational outreach program for Jazz around the globe." The musicians have an astonishing amount of performance and recording experience among them. They range in age from the youngster Gordon, who is in his late 30s, to the 84-year old Bunch, who has been performing since he was 12 years old (with a 3-year break from playing while he fought in WWII, including some time as a POW). I'm not sure if you can see it in this photo, but I think guitar player Pizzarelli, who Vaché claims should be president, looks a lot like Uncle Walter (Cronkite).

The performance ended with a Duke Ellington number featuring a drum solo that just about brought down the house. Williams variously played the full drum set with sticks, mallets, a tamborine and his hands and I was lucky enough to catch this shot of him looking rather pleased with his own efforts. Each musician soloed at multiple points throughout the night and I was blown away by each of them (though I would have liked it if the piano was miked -- it sounded a bit soft on my side of the hall).
I hope the Superbowl was just as much fun for those of you who didn't get to enjoy the Statesmen with us!


smijer said...

Wow - I wish I'd been there. I guess I forgot to check my mail the day the invite came... :-(

Seriously - that looks awesome. I'm glad you had a good time!

glen said...


I am eat up with jealousy! Envy even..

I can quess it was a fantastic evening.some people have all the luck!

best regards

Wes said...

I was there and they cooked!!!! It was a special night of swinging music that is so seldom heard today....what a refreshing evening.

I get so depressed by the Chattanooga music scene and then something like this comes along, just when I was about to lose all hope.

Thanks to Ken Dryden!