Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Thought That Counts

The thing to judge in any jazz artist is, does the man project and does he have ideas?

So said Miles Davis and if anyone should have an opinion on the subject, he would be the one.

I'd read in Chris Bopst's "Hear and Now" column that trumpeter Victor Haskins was having his senior recital tomorrow night, but here's the thing.

I already had plans for tomorrow.

So despite Bopst saying that Haskins had a tone reminiscent of Miles' modal explorations of the late '50s and early '60s, his "Kind of Blue" period, I was going to have to miss it.

So you can imagine my delight when I walked into the VMFA's jazz cafe tonight to find the Victor Haskins Quartet tearing it up.

But because we were late to the party, seats were scarce.

First we grabbed one all the way in the back but then another opened up two tables closer to the band.

Just after we moved, I ran into a friend with her baby in a sling and we chatted about the impressive Brazilian group we'd seen in a friend's living room last week, here.

Not long after getting settled there, WRIR's "Mr. Jazz" walked by on his way out, offering us his seats at a front table.


He was kind enough to introduce us to his table mate, who happened to be one of the forces behind the Richmond Jazz Society, meaning he was a font of information about the local jazz scene.

Since we'd arrived at the break, we listened as he regaled us with stories of jazz musicians the group has brought to town and how often big jazz names came here expecting a small town jazz scene, only to get their butts handed to them by a Richmond master.

He was full of terrific James "Saxsmo" Gates stories, whom I'd seen at, where else, the Richmond Jazz Society five or six years ago.

Soon Victor and his crew - Randall Pharr on bass, Alan Parker on guitar and Billy Williams on drums- went back to the business of music.

Playing original material from his new record, "The Truth" along with original arrangements of covers, we sat there being blown away by this young trumpeter who's about to graduate and probably leave to set the jazz world on fire.

I've seen him before and not just a few times because he usually plays with the RVA Big Band at Balliceaux on Monday nights.

But there he's playing Mingus and standards and tonight we got to hear not just his horn but his own compositions.

Safe to say that Miles would approve; the man projects and clearly he's got ideas.

And that's the truth.

No comments:

Post a Comment