Monday, March 16, 2009
Madlib, Arthur Verocai light up Cal State LA
Coming off last night's show, it's hard to say whether I will ever see another jazz concert again. This one is just too tough to top.
But let's back up for a moment...
The last time I saw a full orchestra backing a composer was Belle & Sebastian's legendary Hollywood Bowl show a few years ago. Suffice it to say, I now know how an orchestra SHOULD be used: with a composer- one so damned modest and charming, he could bring the house down with his personality alone.
I'm a composer/musician myself, or at least a former one. I still know a lot about the technicality of music, one of my favorite activities being to listen for individual instruments and parts in large complex arrangements. Call me a nerd, but I love it. Oh, and don't call me a nerd. Anyway, I guess it may stem from being a former French Horn player- an instrument often forgotten because it's not an instrument designed to stand out. Rather, it fills out the mid level range of sound you hear in that brassy 30-instrument chord. But timbre wasn't my only motivation last night. Stones Throw Records did a service to Los Angeles, inviting Arthur Verocai to play his first show in this city- EVER. And as far as jazz shows go, I may as well have been listening to his original 1972 studio recording. It was perfect. Featuring many of the players from the original record (yes, again, recorded almost 40 years ago), I spent most of the night goose bump ridden deciding if I should hold the hand of the girl next to me. That's the kind of music I'm talking about here. Do something music. Jazz so good you want to pick up your life and move to Brazil now. And I do. I am a slave to the rhythm.
The night also opened with a few DJ sets, the first of which I missed (and must have started at 6 PM cause we were there at 7 on the nose, the show's supposed start time) but the latter two I caught and was quite impressed with. Now, I'd never seen Madlib before, but I'm quite versed in his world, whether it be Yesterday's New Quintet, Jackson Conti, his SUPERB Blue Note Sessions recording, or any of his Beat Konducta series records (of which last night's set may as well have just been an album release- it was just that good). But I was also pleased to learn of a compilation record he did with J Dilla under the name Jaylib. Can't wait to hear it. Oh, and for those of you keeping track, MF Doom made an appearance as well (and yes, it was actually him).
All in all, it will be a long time (maybe even until after I die) that a jazz show this good comes around again. Do yourself a favor- find Arthur Verocai's self titled '72 release. It'll change your life.