Celebrating the birthday of one of the most influential figures in jazz for a fifth year at Tula's jazz club, trumpeter Thomas Marriott brought three friends from the East Coast to explore the music of Miles Davis. It was thrilling.
With two members of his quartet on the recent Urban Folklore album, pianist Orrin Evans and bass player Eric Revis, plus New York native and UW artist in residence Ted Poor on drums, the band split a pair of Second Classic Quintet tunes with the great mid-50s number "Four."
The four were obviously familiar with the material, enough that each musician began to take advantage of the possibilities for improvisation as soon at the songs began.
Marriott put it best when describing the through line of Miles Davis' constant musical evolution, everything he played was about making the path of improv opportunities as wide as he could. There's strong melodic ideas, but in the service of allowing endless ways to develop the musician's own personalities along the way.
The late '60s songs seemed to be especially inspiring to these four top talents, with fearless solos pushing each player to excel in the KNKX studios through the mysterious "Prince of Darkness" and Wayne Shorter's fascinating "Orbits". Sell-out shows over two nights at Tula's guarantees this is an annual Seattle jazz tradition that's here to stay.
1. Prince of Darkness, 2. Four, 3. Orbits
Thomas Marriott (trumpet), Orrin Evans (piano), Eric Revis (bass), Ted Poor (drums)