We’ve had a visit from one of the world’s greatest saxophonists, Wayne Shorter; now one of the world’s most legendary jazz drummers is coming to town.
Jack DeJohnette turned 70 in August and is celebrating as only a jazz man knows how - with a big tour. His band, with Don Byron on reeds, Dave Fiuczynski on guitar, George Colligan on keyboards and Jerome Harris on bass - is playing across Europe and the States, and comes to Birmingham Town Hall on Tuesday evening.
Who has Jack played with? Who hasn’t he played with, more like. The list is too long to quote in full, but it includes Miles Davis (including his Bitches Brew album), Sonny Rollins, Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Bill Evans and, of course, Keith Jarrett. DeJohnette first worked with Jarrett when they were both youngsters in the band of saxophonist Charles Lloyd, and has been a member of the pianist’s Standards Trio since 1985.
His own work as a leader has covered a fascinating range of music, often with strong Native American influences, and he is pretty mean pianist as well.
His drumming style is very much his own, showing a highly sophisticated rhythmic sense which has him moving effortlessly from strict time to free playing in almost any context.
He’s a real melodicist, too, and sometimes it’s almost possible to sing his drum patterns.
Needless to say, the audience at a DeJohnette gig is going to have its fair share of drummers, but he is by no means simply a musician’s musician.
In fact, his own bands have often been far more accessible to a wider range of listeners than some of the projects he is involved in as a sideman. And this one looks like a real humdinger with the wonderful clarinettist/saxophonist Don Byron out front.
Jack DeJohnette was earlier this year the recipient of a Jazz Masters Award in recognition of his “extraordinary contribution to advancing the jazz art form and for serving as a mentor for a new generation of young aspiring jazz musicians”, and he has a new album out,
Sound Travels, which includes special guests Esperanza Spalding, Bruce Hornsby and Bobby McFerrin.
The Jack DeJohnette Band is at the Adrian Boult Hall on Tuesday from 8pm. Tickets are available from thsh.co.uk. This is a Jazzlines concert.
Other good jazz gigs this week: