On Thursday night/Friday morning (June 30/July 1), I attended my first and only Late Night Jazz Jam at the Rex. The jams were hosted by the Chris Gale Quartet, and any musicians are invited to sit in on the sets.
And I do mean ANY musicians, because they let my friend and fellow TDJ News Corps member David Cruz sit in for a tune. (As well as Festival Artistic Director Josh Grossman, but I feel like listing him here might put my job in jeopardy.)
Quite often, the big names who played at the festival earlier in the day will come to the Rex at night to jam before leaving town. One of the guests on this night was Larnell Lewis, the drummer who is perhaps best known from his work with the popular band Snarky Puppy.
Despite the musicians not having played together much, their performance was excellent. The time feel of the whole group held strong with an unwavering swing. On “Alone Together,” David Cruz did his best jazz face as he comped along with the rhythm section or accented the melody with backup notes. As the solos traded around, Cruz held down the rhythm, aligning his shots perfectly with the rhythm section.
For his solo, Cruz kept his solid playing going strong. His lines were right at home alongside his fellow players. Of course, all good things must come to an end, and David was booted off stage after his first song. This was okay though, because Larnell Lewis was also replaced at the same time. I can only presume that the two went off together to discuss starting their own band.
After they stepped off, Josh Grossman took the stage to participate in a trumpet trio, which you can read about in his blog post here. The late night jam was a fascinating look into the world of jazz after dark, and offered a great opportunity for performers both young and old, famous and fresh. I will be sure to return when the jazz fest rolls through town next year.