Eastman Jazz Quartet—Trillions Call it Maybe
“Let it be known that Rich Thompson holds power dear to all our hearts; for this man is blessed.” –Alex Horowitz Fierce intensity struck the air, exuded by their black outfits. Setting an incredibly professional mood early in Bucknell Hall on that brisk, wood-cringing night of the 26th of February.
The front man, Clay Jenkins, appeared nervous but solemn. How coquettish of him.
The players have all the control. You sit there in this throng of eager and magnificent people, wondering how Thompson, the established drummer, was able to play a 13/4-esque rhythm with intense and pounding fills, then repeat the section verbatim. However domineering this drum prominence was, deeper, graver things look upon it.
There is this idea of the blend, the idea that the band recognizes a purpose. Even with the extreme amount of improvisation, great quartets are able to sustain this clandestine value to the bands performance. The Eastman Jazz Quartet did not evoke this to me, the singular listener. I deem them a failure as a result.
We must not forget something before this tale ends. I was so hypnotized by the drummer—here I am in my second semester of jazz drums with the great one, Phil Haynes, or “the master” as my brother Alex Horowitz calls him.
I envy this insane/expert fine-printed drum technique, playing a lil’ abstract on the fills-- I must agree. Regardless, it fills me with mirth that there are vulnerable, twistable, and prodigious talents still alive on our own campus. Who presents himself to assure and execute this soulful will? It is of course, the aforementioned Horowitz, who, when asked of his resemblance to an ambitious 1960s soul player (at the peak of his career and no less), responded, dubitably, “Yes, that’s because I played my ass off.”
But sir, you must inquire about a certain “Little Round Book” by Master Coltrane and Master Ellington himself