The Connecticut Jazz Composers and Improvisers Festival
The Buttonwood Tree
Several weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of working again (it's been a while!) with my longtime brass confrere Bill Lowe. The occasion was the seventh annual Connecticut Jazz Composers and Improvisers Festival. The festival is the creation of bassist Joe Fonda, who invites several improvising composers to gather and share their music with local listeners.
I opted to stir things up a bit by inviting tubaist Ben Stapp and trombonist Peter McEachern to join us. Following a wonderful set of solo music on the contrabass violin by Avery Sharpe, our quartet let loose with a rambling and raucous set of improvised music. At points, we had two tubas in play, bringing to mind our old co-op ensemble Paradigm Shift (w/Taylor Ho Bynum, Bill Lowe, Joseph Daley, Syd Smart and Warren Smith). We had a ball!
The following day, I drove Bill home to Boston and was more than pleased to hear of his new project with director Gilbert McCauley, setting the work of Jean Toomer to music in a new musical theater project. When we last gathered this way, the work centered on Rahsaan Roland Kirk's version of The Old Rugged Cross. "The purpose of the cross is not to cross you up but to help you get across." Stay tuned for details!
Thanks to photographer and deep listener (not to mention thirty plus years community radio host) Maurice Robertson for his tireless music work as a local music witness. When Maurice is in the house, you know that you've done something right!
images by Maurice Robertson