The good folks at Lucid Jazz Lounge in Seattle decided to put on a multi-show tribute to Miles and his different eras featuring four of our town’s top trumpeters: Owuor Arunga, Scott Morning, Ahamefule J. Oluo and little old me! Owuor is playing from Miles’ electric period, Scott took the Second Great Quintet, Aham will be playing from the “Kind of Blue” period and I’ll be paying tribute to the First Great Quintet.
Our show is coming up this Friday and I couldn’t be more excited. This is the music that first got me into jazz, and I’ve been listening to and studying it all my life. Even the rehearsals have been thrilling for me, just hearing this music come to life through my band! We’ve gotten some good press about the show and I have a feeling that Lucid is going to be Standing-Room-Only all night long.
I decided to call the show “Reflections on the First Great Quintet” for a reason. There has been some negative talk on the internet lately about tribute shows. While I agree that no one wants to hear the same old songs played the same old way, I also believe that there is much still to discover by using these songs as jumping-off points. Like David R. Adler says in his rebuttal to the above linked conversation:
The jazz musician working in the standards idiom is referencing a certain tradition and conveying, or trying to convey, a command of that tradition’s language. The best players can also arrive at originality even within that framework.
This is what we hope to accomplish with our show. We will reflect on and reference the original recordings, striving all the while to bring our own passions and personalities to bear on them. It’s a chance to pay homage to a musician and a body of music that has been a huge influence on me. It’s also a chance to show what we do, and in that way it’s no different than any other show we play. Whether we are playing music we’ve written, Nick Drake covers or the music of Miles, what you’ll hear is the JPQ being the JPQ. That’s how we approach a tribute show.
So if you’re in Seattle on Friday, I hope you’ll come join us for a great night of forward-thinking music. That’s what Miles was all about, and that’s what we’ll bring to the stage.
Joining me at Lucid Friday will be my regular working band: Cynthia Mullis on tenor, Josh Rawlings on piano, Evan Flory-Barnes on bass and D’Vonne Lewis on drums. This is the same group that appears on our latest CD, “No More, No Less”.