The Michigan Daily =- Friday, September 14, 1984 - Page 7
Local jazz artists kick off Cruisin' at U-Club
By Marc S. Taras
Y ES, FOLKS, we are recording
tonight. The opportunity to be
in the audience for a live recording of
Treetown's favorite bands only seems
to come once every couple of years. It's
been that long since- the Ann Arbor
Music Project released Cruisin' Ann
And now ... the sequel. Twelve new
bands with an even wider selection of
musical genres will be featured on the
new Lp which is 'being recorded this
week in a 'mini-festival' atmosphere.
Three of Ann Arbor's world class jazz
bands kicked off the activities Wed-
nesday night with professionalism,
verve, and above all else, daring.
The evening began warmly with a
quartet led by pianist/composer
Stephanie Ozer and vocalist Kathy
Moore. Their opener, a blues in-
strumental penned by Ozer set the tone
of professionalism for the night. Ozer's
playing was deliberate and spare yet
capable of unfolding to a rush of notes.
Bruce Dondero provided a strong
rhythmic foundation bowing and
plucking his acoustic bass. Kathy
Moore joined the trio, and launched
dauntlessly into a diverse set of tunes
with warmth and enthusiasm. One
could sense how singing for her is a per-
sonal unfolding. And I call it daring
when a singer chooses to cover such
material as Billie Holiday's "God Bless
the Child" or "Open Your Eyes You.
Can Fly," the Chick Corea tune
popularized by the Brazilian vocal
phenom Flora Purim. Well, Moore is
something of a phenom in her. own
She has what I would call a great set
of pipes. A voice that emerges clearly
and softly and grows up and out until it
is amazingly wide. She is at once
brassy and classy, reminding me of the
great singers who trained for the stage
like Cleo Laine or Judy Garland.
She lends a special attention to the
lyric of a song as evidenced in her sen-
sitive duet with Ozer on Stephanie's
"Morning Song." The highlight of their
set was a stunning version of "My
In light of Coltrane's adopting this
tune in the 60s its inclusion in this set is
another daring move. But the
originality of the arrangements was
irresistable. Rhythms shifted and
crossed with the delightful Ozer dan-
cing over all. When Kathy unleashed
her vocal and rhythmic chops, an
already great arrangement was given
The Ron Brooks Trio is something of
a legend in local jazz circles with their
regular jam sessions at the Earle. With
the edition of trumpeter Bill Lucas the
U-Club crowd was treated to a solid
quartet session of post-bop energies.
The trumpet quarted play two of Miles
Davis's most famous pieces, "Four"
and "All Blues."
With bassist Brooks at the helm
looking - and sounding - like Mingus,
the band met the challenge of this
material with wonderful assurance and
strength. But my vote for inclusion on
the Cruisin' disc would be their stun-
ning version of "On Green Dolphin"
Street." With rolling rhythms taken at
a brisk pace, Bill Lucas skipped
through a beautiful solo making the
most of the middle register of the horn
and improvising on the quirky melody.
The rhythm section cooked along with
Bob Elliott's cymbals sizzling and
Ron's bass swirling. I was on my feet
shaking and screaming.
Pianist Terry Lower, who Brooks
called "the new kid in town," seemed
delighted with his surroundings as his
happy, bright piano strolled along while
the dolphin-folk danced.
Two great sets. How could we be
happier? Only after a visit from Ann
Arbor's sultans of salsa, The Lunar
Glee Club. This inspiring eight piece
ensemble projects three white-hot hor-
ns out front and three fiery drummers
behind a funky bass and a capital Elec-
tric guitar. And the band is well
named. They put forth a special blend
of magical elements that makes you
want to move.
The horn _section is led by lunar
trumpeter Kalle Nemvaltz. Kalle has
been one of my favorite players for
some time and his solo work was as
thoughtful as ever. All of the horn
arrangements came down with energy
Nemvaltz is flanked by talented reed-
stars Paul Vornhagen and Steve Hilt-
ner. The three drummers are led by
conga drummer Aron Kaufman who is
joined by Dave Mason on percussion
and John Krosnick on the drumkit. Dan
Bilich provides the funky bottom and
Sam Clark adds a pyrotechnic guitar.
All in all, this is an impressive outfit.
They dare to delight in playing all of
their own original compositions.
Everybody in the band contributes .to
the writing. In an evening where
beautiful arrangements were the
highlight, the Lunar Glee Club took the
honors. Kaufman's "Subway, Tep-
sions" turns urban angst into lunar y
by virtue of its infectious rhythms d
powerful horn head.
Much of the Glee Club's material has
this sort of salsa appeal. Steve Hit-
ner's "Sitcom Paramedic" reve.s
another aspect of the band -a joyogs
sort of bop descended from Mingus..
But my vote 'for the record' wouldle
the new piece that they offered a n
encore, "Quasar Salad." Writteq' y
percussionist Dave Mason, this 'tie
features Nemvaltz leading sporty hb64is
over chugging rhythm engines movoig
toward a gradual peak. The Glee Glib
also gets my vote for the Most Creafte
And the U-Club gets my vote a;'ie
premier jazz venue in the state. ;'Wis
place is happening. You can try i-n
for size with three nights of rock 4d
new wave music as the live recordils
of the second Cruisin' Lp conte
through Saturday. And you can be&$rt
of what promises to be one of the1idst
exciting record releases of the year,
barry bagel's plaCe, .I
8 delicious fresh baked varieties
HELPWELCOME US TO CAMPUS
2 FREE BAGELS
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t (limit coupon per person)
S. State St. next to Pizza Bob's - 994-9300
Bassist Ron Brooks records for Cruisin' II at the U-Club Wednesday night.
(Contined from Page 6)
musical selection. He mixed in a
healthy portion of his last two albums,
including such hits such as "Sad
Songs," "Restless," "Kiss the Bride,"
"I Guess That's Why They Call it the
Blues," and "I'm Still Standing."
During "Saturday Night's," Elton got
a little carried away, and gave parts of
his piano stool and .his jacket to the
audience. While his outfit and the set
might have lacked the glitter of his mid-
70s tours, there was still an excellent
light show. Elton, however, was tied to
the piano most of the night and did little
dancing and carousing, except when
breaking his stools (three of them).
9.The set was rounded off by "Levon,"
'Candle in the Wind," and "Blue
Eyes." For his encores, Elton perfor-
,, med "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,"
.,"'Your Song," and a roaring rendition of
~Even though he left out several of his
-Most popular songs, Elton's concert
was far from disappointing. If this in-
deed is his farewell tour, he leaves as a
memorable performer who can be mat-
ched by few other musicians.
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