IT never “Rains” in Southern California is not true, its just a matter of what type rain..as I laugh out loud. I went into Leimert Village on Saturday, Feb. 7 to catch a special show at the small, but mighty World Stage in Leimert Park Village. Yes, the same one founded by Billy Higgins and Poet Kamau Daaood over 20 years ago. Tonight , I was invited out by drummer/percussionist Don Littleton who was fronting a TRio of sort “without Piano” just drums/percussions, woodwinds and Bass Violin. what an Order! a quick peek at The personnel told me not to miss it. Though its been over 30 years since I lived in Leimert Park, I still enjoy driving back out from the Inland empire area to “GET MY REAL JAZZ FIX”. DON had assembled an eclectic trio of master Jazz musicians . including Don himself, Bassist John B. Williams, who many of you may remember in the early days at the Lighthouse Jazz Club with The Horace Silver Quintet, and fans of the Arsenio Hall first show in the 80s. He was Bass player /Poet in the “POSSE” Band led by Michael Wolff. Mentors and teachers like Ron Carter, no wonder John is one the premier bassist on a “first call status.” Muti-Reed man Pablo Calogero was the glue on saturday night as he weaved his way through Jazz Pioneer’s compositions without piano, with him carrying the onus of melody and creating new melodies off the harmonics of the original. MONK, DUKE ELLINGTON, Coltrane, just to name a few. The “Entree” was the mastery of improv. One of the tunes that stood out for me was a “call and response” ditty by Ellington re-spunned by the Trio.
(hear original Angelica by Ellington/Coltrane by clicking on link)
This group was able to get up under the skin and find your soul to connect with you in the audience. No fluff or gimmicks, just pure Jazz, soul , passion and experience took us on a 90 minute journey. I was particular amazed at the woodwind player, Pablo Calogero, who played masterfully on Saxes,Flute and a rare appearance of the infamous BASS Clarinet..a monster on any set.
John B. made it easy for us in the audience to complete the picture that was being painted by the group all evening. I love it when I don’t have to deal with musicians just “faxing it in” just because the ideal environment is not there. all of the musicians were true professionals on an obvious slow night at the door.. it did not bother their creativity one bit. (www.johnbwilliams.com)