Monday, March 28, 2011

In Lieu of 1000 Words: The Matt Otto Quartet (But With Six Musicians)

It was billed as the Matt Otto Quartet, but there were six musicians on stage. So that doesn’t work.

And there’s the complete list of what didn’t work that night.

What did work, I wrote about in another post about a month ago. To quote myself:

“The musicians included Matt on tenor sax, Gerald Dunn on alto sax, Jeff Harshbarger on bass, Michael Warren on drums, Beau Bledsoe on guitar, and Shay Estes vocalizing….

“The vocalizing – no words, but rather the voice as an instrument – added a unique layer of depth to the sound. To my ears, which only know how to respond emotionally, the bass and drums carried rhythms. On top of that I heard tenor, alto, guitar and voice blending, harmonizing, into the wonder of a single complex instrument, creating often beautiful, often smoothly opaque, detailed, yet consistently extraordinary waves of music, of jazz, unlike any I’ve heard elsewhere.”

This is a collection of Kansas City jazz all-stars. All but Matt are better known in KC in other groups. Yet in this configuration, they blend their talents into a unique voice for Matt’s compositions (and some by Monk and others) to fill the room with musical wonder.

In case you didn’t pick up on it, I like this group.

On the night of February 9th, the six musicians of the Matt Otto Quartet (hey, I didn’t name the group) performed at Jardine’s. It snowed that night, and few patrons braved the weather. But I was there, with camera, and below you’ll see how it looked. As always, clicking on a photo should open a larger version of it.

The Matt Otto Quartet. Left to right: Beau Bledsoe on guitar, Shay Estes, vocals, Jeff Harshbarger on bass, Matt Otto on tenor sax, Michael Warren on drums, Gerald Dunn on alto sax

Matt Otto

Gerald Dunn

Shay Estes

The front line: Shay, Matt and Gerald

Beau Bledsoe

Jeff Harshbarger

Michael Warren

Shay admires Matt's solo

Matt Otto on tenor

The Matt Otto Quartet enjoying Jeff's bass solo

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