August 17, 2017


12° C, Fog

Full Forecast


Advertise With Us

Blue Note tribute hits the right notes

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/9/2013 (1417 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

THERE were a lot of good friends onstage in spirit Sunday afternoon as a crack quintet paid tribute to the legendary Blue Note jazz label.

Music by Horace Silver, Hank Mobley, Bud Powell and Wayne Shorter, performed by tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, trumpeter Brian Lynch, pianist Xavier Davis, drummer Quincy Davis and bassist Steve Kirby, highlighted the second of three weekend concerts in the season opener of the Izzy Asper Jazz Performances series.

The trouble with paying homage to Blue Note, home of the hard bop movement and of some of the best jazz recorded, is where to start.

Silver's Senór Blues hit the spot. It is one the best-known Blue Note songs and the front line of Alexander and Lynch proved to be a powerhouse, in the tradition of BN recordings.

Two other Silver compositions made the cut, Song For My Father and Nutville, which is only fair as he helped make the label a success during its heyday in the '50s and '60s.

Saxophonist Hank Mobley, a superb tenor player and a stalwart of the label, was represented by This I Dig of You. Mobley didn't get the credit he deserved in his lifetime, but his music still sounds great and is the personification of the Blue Note sound.

That sound, for the most part, was based on ensemble playing and not just a leader backed by a rhythm section. The Asper series band easily captured that sound as Alexander and Lynch, while playing some beautiful solos, stuck largely to ensemble play in a tight band.

Pianist Davis was an excellent accompanist and soloist, who nailed the Silver tunes and who turned in brilliant solo playing on What's New.

The weekend shows were a rare opportunity for Xavier to share the stage with his drummer brother Quincy, a jazz professor at the University of Manitoba.

Xavier also shone on the tune by pianist Bud Powell, Wail, which was the best of a lot of good tunes from Blue Note's tome of a songbook.

Tom Thumb, the Wayne Shorter composition recorded in 1967 for his Schizophrenia album, was a treat and underscores the talented musicians who recorded for the label. Shorter, who turned 80 last month, is still a vibrant musician recording and touring.

Drummer Art Blakey was a big part of the Blue Note sound, playing on countless sessions as a leader and sideman, and Quincy Davis kept that big, big sound going through ensemble play and soloing.

Fittingly, the concert ended with Moanin', a Bobby Timmons' composition recorded by Blakey's Jazz Messengers and one of the best songs to grace the Blue Note label.


Advertise With Us

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Photo Store

Scroll down to load more