posted by Robert J. Carmack #@blues2jazzguy
In a rare performance in Long Beach as part of a concept jazz band, Acknowledgement, Bobby West longtime resident of many European countries, had the audience eating out of his hands ,musically speaking. Fronting an able quintet made up of local L.A.musicians, West exposed his entire arsenal of styles and passionate compositions to the attentive and lively crowd. One such ballad in the 2nd set was commandeered without the horns and was just stunning, fueled obviously by his love for classical music that provided sublime phrasing and arpeggios in the solo portion of the composition, You are Too Beautiful.
My exposure to the nimble Bobby West was Early 90s in Los Angeles where he would frequent the local haunts like 5th street Dicks coffee-house or Billy Higgins World Stage in Leimert Park area of LA. Impressed by his rarely used “Locked-Hands” approach with advanced harmonics made for an interesting evening of listening to classic “cookers” such as MIlestones , Song for my Father and Theme from Alfie.
In the second set, he introduced a Miles Davis jazz pearl , Solar with 12 bars of sublime classical tinged music that would make Beethoven or Debussy proud.
He often inter-mixed the classical etudes-like phrasing with the locked-hand precision of a Red Garland.This was pushed by the steady pulse and drive of veteran bassist Jeff Littleton, which was co-piloted by journeyman drummer Ishmael Hunter. who by the way was celebrating his birthday. Rounding out the frontline was L.A. trumpeter Noland Smith and the Father of Saxophone sensation, Kamasi Washington , Rickey Washington on saxophones. Rickey brought down the house on a flute solo on the perennial “Summertime.” One has to look high and low to find flautist who play bop-like phrases on a flute today. Overall, I was quite entertained and Soul satisfied,
I’m told Bobby will be in town for another few weeks before striking out for Morocco. Gone six weeks, then back again in Los Angeles until September, where he goes on the road for a nine-month stretch before his next return. In between gigs while on hiatus from the road, he can be found at the World Stage teaching music to kids and adults,