Tuesday is going to be a very big day for me.
My not-so-quiet small town, Denton, will play host to two extraordinary young artists setting fire to the New York jazz scene. You can’t get much hotter than Ambrose Akinmusire, as far as I’m concerned. Since discovering him at the NYC Winter Jazz Fest this year, I find myself listening in on the space inherent to breath and brass and hearing so much more than I have before. Taylor Eigsti, from what I gather, is some sort of piano angel. I missed his set with Nick Peyton, but still had a few chance sightings, most notably when he played with Gretchen Parlato. I was fascinated by the chemistry of the band, especially the apparently elated pianist. He was having a great time! So we all joined in.
You can imagine my anticipation, then, to be welcoming these two firecrackers to my lil ole club, Cold Fusion. This is all the doing of one Brian Girley — a self-driven bandleader, talented saxophonist and UNT alum. Brian invited the guys down to play two nights with a slew of North Texas’ emerging musicians — this includes Yuka Tadano, quite possibly the hottest chick bass player in existence; and Jason “JT” Thomas who has played with everyone from Roy Hargrove to Marcus Miller and has the smoothest voice of any drummer I’ve seen (he is likewise responsible for my introduction to D’Angelo and I therefore owe him a drink). This dynamic quintet will be performing a very special two night engagement in Denton — if you are so compelled to hear the bleeding edge of living jazz, I do hope you can join us.
Wednesday night’s show at Hailey’s will feature sets by two young acts just starting to make waves through the North Texas jazz scene. Tatiana Mayfield— our very own Josephine Baker, as saucy as she is talented — will have her Quintet on hand. They’ve been gathering a steady following from Fort Worth’s underground scene with regular gigs at Scat Jazz Lounge and Buttons, while Tatiana has picked up notable mentions from Downbeat and All About Jazz.
Here she is in full recital regalia:
Wednesday’s show will also include Roberto Verastegui‘s group — the Grammy nominated One O’Clocker has been touring the globe (while going through the North Texas Jazz program, no less) with his inventive styling and decidedly personal inflection. I must say, his playing reminds me very much of Bill Laurance (maybe it’s the Nord face, maybe the kicky knees, you decide).
Here’s Roberto with yet another hot bass player, Linda Oh.
Needless to say, I am just beside myself about these shows. I will try my best to keep my Jazz Geek fits to a minimum (I held my own when we were all playing pool with Lyle Mays a couple months ago, but just barely). The good thing is that since the shows are in Denton, there will almost always be someone jazz geekier than me somewhere nearby (though that may be up for debate at this point).
See you Tuesday!