Tribute to Charlie Parker
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Kailash Mital Theatre, Carleton University

Wednesday night's tribute to Charlie Parker was a bit less of a success than the other concerts in the 2011 Carleton Jazz Camp series.

Nicholas Dyson (trumpet) and Mark Ferguson (trombone) listen to Dave Dunlop solo. ©Brett Delmage, 2011
Nicholas Dyson (trumpet) and Mark Ferguson (trombone) listen to Dave Dunlop solo. ©Brett Delmage, 2011
There was good ensemble playing, and sizzling solos by trumpeter Dave Dunlop on "Little Suede Shoes" and trumpeter Nick Dyson on "Star Eyes". Guitarist Tim Bedner, who played the only chordal instrument against a wall of brass, also stood out for his fluid solos that underlined the melody in the music.

And the concert also showed how strong Parker's music remains despite its familiarity. In fact, listening to the pieces reminded me of watching a Shakespeare play – at the point when you're taken right out of the story by how familiar a line is, and how often you've seen it as a book title or a cliché in conversation. Hearing en masse the compositions that Parker wrote or made famous was a reminder of how much they've not only permeated jazz, but also fit into general life as CBC radio breaks and incidental music.

But overall the playing was neither as fast nor as fiery as I expected. There was nothing wrong with the musicianship, but it didn't feel as though the musicians were as completely inside or inspired by the music as might have been hoped.

Trombonist Mark Ferguson introduced the concert as a jam, and that's what it was. It needed a bit more preparation and energy to become sublime. Perhaps another time, when all the musicians aren't also running a jazz camp?

   – Alayne McGregor

Other coverage of the 2011 Carleton University Jazz Camp: