I would write about the whole week but I'm just so floored by Billy Hart I have to start with that. Everything about his quartet tonight was just exceptional. It was innovative, interesting, and so so swinging it was crazy. A few things stuck out to me that I haven't noticed as much in the records:
Ethan and Billy have a really incredible hookup comping. The whole band is in sync but their is really special and unique especially with regard to timbre. Billy uses a lot of drums and cymbals and Ethan uses a wide range in his comping, these two approaches complement each other in a highly personal way.
Billy chooses musical intellectuals. It struck me from their stage presence that all three of the other members of Billy's band are some of the most thoughtful and articulate musicians on the scene today. I may be going too far to say this--but I have to wonder if Billy wants these musicians to complement his visceral style of drumming and maybe impart some of his aesthetic in their music.
Swing is alive and well. This music is modern and forward-thinking but it still had so much of that feeling that captivated my ears when I first hear Count Basie and Charlie Parker.
Otherwise this has been a great week. I had the pleasure of spending some time with Dayna Stephens and Ambrose Akinmusire and playing a session with them. I was very unhappy with my playing because their presence made me nervous and brought the ego out in my performance in a way I haven't let it as much recently. I got to redeem myself the night after playing a blues...I still wasn't happy with my playing but at least I didn't play from that place of ego (as much). I got to see some really great saxophone playing at the saxophone summit here Thursday, and I saw some nice student performances on Friday. Palo Alto remains beautiful and I ate hummus downtown on Saturday. Very nice...