As of Now (Cellar Live)
What do you get when you put four extroverts in a room?
Generally, I suppose, the answer would be “a clash of competing egos”, but not when the Type A personalities in question are jazz musicians. Contemplative moments are few and far between on the prolific saxophonist, jazz impresario, and former nightclub owner Cory Weeds’s latest release, but if you’re looking for energy, feel free to shelve the Red Bull now.
Weeds, pianist Harold Mabern, bassist John Webber, and drummer Joe Farnsworth set the pace with the introductory “Rakin’ and Scrapin’ ”, a strutting, bluesy workout with one of the best tenor solos Weeds has ever committed to wax—or, in this case, polycarbonate plastic. If the tune also sounds like a soul-jazz gem from the 1960s, that’s because it is: Mabern first released it on his 1969 album of the same name. Here, though, the ageless 78-year-old updates his signature number with an out-of-left-field quote from Steely Dan’s “Do It Again” before digging even deeper into pop culture with a giddy bop-culture update of “Pop Goes the Weasel”.
You won’t believe it until you hear it, but if you hear it, you’ll like it.
Cory Weeds and Harold Mabern play two TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival concerts, at Pyatt Hall on Thursday and Friday (June 26 and 27).