Loading...
Jazz

USC Jazz Quintet - Levitt Pavilion Pasadena - 7/22/12

Comments (0)

By

Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 8:41 AM

click to enlarge CHRISTINA LIMSON O'CONNELL
  • Christina Limson O'Connell
USC Jazz Quintet

Levitt Pavilion Pasadena

7/22/12

Better than... drinking beer alone in a Pasadena park.

Last night in Pasadena, USC offered up their best and brightest jazz crew to revel in a little school pride and highlight the impressive capabilities of staff and alumni for a cool evening under the stars before an attentive crowd of jazz fans and proud Trojans.

With faculty members Alan Pasqua on piano, Darek Oles on bass, and Peter Erskine on drums, fronted by alumni Ambrose Akinmusire on trumpet and Greg Johnson on saxophone, it would have been hard to find a better band in any US college to occupy the teacher's lounge.

At exactly 7 p.m., the quintet hit the stage and opened with Thelonious Monk's "Monk's Dream." Johnson filled Charlie Rouse's shoes admirably with a honking confidence over the churning rhythm section. Oles, although a little buried in the sound system, took a tasteful solo that was punctuated by the first of two helicopters to circle the park.

The band later provided a couple of Dizzy Gillespie tunes. "Woody 'N You" was a bop workout that had Pasqua dropping chords behind the horn men like weighted darts, each cluster pushing them further into their hiccupping phrases. Eventually he took a Tristano-esque solo, launching a barrage of low end notes over Erskine's brushes. The band finished the tune with a clatter, audibly amused. They were clearly working through a book of audition-ready standards, their modifications worthwhile but hardly road tested.

Gillespie's "Con Alma" reworked the horn harmonies into a tighter knot before Johnson made a strong plea over the mid-tempo swing. Erskine provided a breezy solo as Pasqua and Oles stoically paced the changes behind him.

click to enlarge CHRISTINA LIMSON O'CONNELL
  • Christina Limson O'Connell

Related Location

Related Content

Now Trending

  • Lady Casa: Queen of the Ravers

    Lady Casa is perhaps the country’s most famous raver, and something like a cult leader to her tens of thousands of fans. When the Miami native makes a pilgrimage to L.A. and hosts an event on Venice Beach the day after seeing DJ Armin van Buuren, it quickly turns into...
    2
  • Porter Robinson - Shrine Expo Hall - September 13, 2014

    Porter Robinson The Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall September 13, 2014 It was clear from the minute his set started that Porter Robinson's performance at the Shrine was going to be more than just your typical EDM event. Robinson is on tour in support of Worlds, his first album and...
  • The Best Concerts to See in L.A. This Week

    Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar! Monday, September 15 Mia Doi Todd BLUE WHALE Calling her an “L.A. singer-songwriter” doesn’t quite do the job when it comes to describing this local jewel. Mia Doi Todd is a valuable presence for her gracefully conceived, wonderfully intimate songcraft,...
Los Angeles Concert Tickets