All About Jazz

Thursday, December 20, 2007 All About Jazz Review Gibson/Baldwin Jazz Festival at Whole Foods Market The first annual Gibson/Baldwin Jazz Festival organized by Yashmin Charnet-Abler took place on Nov. 3rd-4th in the unusual but ultimately jazz- friendly environment of Whole Foods Market, overlooking the intersection of Houston Street and Second Avenue through a panoramic picture window. Allen Farnham's piano trio served up a fired-up soufflé of standards, including "Witchhunt", "Bolivia", "Kids Are Pretty People", "Tangerine", "Tin Tin Deo", "El Gaucho" and an atmospheric original, "Days Gone By". The group vibe was as comfortable as old clothes; they probably could have played all day with no loss of luster. Sunday's festivities began with Ted Curson's Spirit of Life Ensemble (with altoist Bradford Hayes and trombonist Bob Ferrel in the frontline) with the Gentle Giant himself, Yusef Lateef, guesting on flutes. Five days short of his 87th birthday, Lateef was no slouch on the couch, playing with sweet, quavering tones that seemed to pose questions, even as they suggested answers; the crowd grew noticeably quiet in places, audibly touched by the healing spirit of this living legend. Curson and crew were full of spunk and spitfire, jamming over well- oiled classics with sophisticated abandon: Curson sang, scatted and articulated his ideas in a trumpet-ly fashion; Hayes interpolated humorous quotes ("Santa Claus is Coming to Town", "It Don't Mean a Thing", etc.) and Ferrel spun out mini-narratives in velvet legatos. ~ Tom Greenland

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