Thursday, August 7, 2008

Anthony Cox, Chris Lomheim, Phil Hey

When: Saturday, July 19, 2008 • Where: Artists' QuarterWho: Anthony Cox, bass; Chris Lomheim, piano; Phil Hey, drums

They begin with an upbeat melody that segues into something slow, dreamy, almost classical, a showcase for the bass with Cox bowing. Now Lomheim takes a solo and it’s sad and beautiful, like something out of an old movie, think Rebecca. It becomes more beautiful with each measure, then the bass walks, the tempo picks up and suddenly it’s “Caravan.”

Was the first part an introduction to the Ellington standard or is the trio just flowing from one tune to another? A brilliant solo from Hey, a few squeaks on a cymbal’s rim, and Cox takes the lead again, transitioning into maybe “Smile,” maybe “Laura,” maybe something else equally luscious and tender. Brushes on drums. It’s a jazz concerto. Nobody talks or calls out the tunes, it’s all melody and emotion.

Now "Squatty Roo" wrapped around “Rhythm-a-ning.” You can tell what a pleasure it is for them to play together, and how much they enjoy playing for us. “The Joint Is Jumping?” No, something else. Then “Alone Together.” Then "Marse," an original by Hey. (Thanks to Andrea Canter for tracking that one down, and "Squatty Roo," too.)

Afterward it's all a tuneful, cinematic blur. I don’t know what I have heard tonight and ask Don Berryman, a friend with a far greater knowledge of jazz than mine. He thinks it has mostly been standards in interesting arrangements. “Interesting” is an understatement. What a pleasure to see these musicians in this room, and how lucky for us they live in our midst.

Photos by John Whiting.

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