Saturday, January 19, 2019

Autumn Arpeggios at Jazz at the A Frame

by Kim (writer), Los Angeles, October 21, 2011

Credit: Kim Vinson
Allen Mequizda, Peter Smith, Clayton Cameron, and Trevor Ware in the midst of music

A tastefully superb selection of untainted Jazz with spirit, soul, and the Blues

The remarkable advantage about going to the "A Frame" is you're always in for gorgeous gain. It’s like Christmas every month of the year. Although it’s true, Jesus Christ birthday isn't actually December 25th, and Christmas doesn't come once a month... If it did, I'd wage, he would celebrate it at this splendid venue that's akin to heaven on earth each month of the year.

Hosted by Betty Hoover and nested in the hills of Hollywood is one of the best Jazz venues ever.

On Sunday, October 16, 2011, The Peter Smith Quartet serenaded a focused and devoted audience with original compositions and endearing tunes.

Allen Mequizda - Alto Sax

Peter Smith - Piano and Vocals

Trevor Ware - Bass

Clayton Cameron - Drums

They started the set with an original by Peter entitled "Once Again", filled with catchy arpeggios by Mr. Smith and a trade of 4's between Allen Mequizda that rocked the house! Allen's attention to space and time is mesmerizing.

A soul connection added by Trevor Ware on Bass and Peter Smith and solos filled with beautiful movement. Novel tags at the end of the piece that only added to the established gorgeous resonance.

Speaking of that, Peter performed a rendition of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart - "I Didn't Know What Time It Was". Mr. Smith was on vocals and Piano on this one and it was paradise personified. A very syncopated and enchanting swing immersed and a few bars into the tune...I didn't know what time, day, or year it was and I didn't care! Peter, Allen, Trevor, and Clayton could have serenading all afternoon.

Clayton Cameron, known as "the Brush Man" because of his brilliance, sensitivity, and total ability to engage you added a wonderful feel.

Trevor Ware acutely shared a depth and beauty that no words can convey. Trevor's own novel manner of expression with skillful fingers on the Bass strings.

There was a very nice trade of 4's between Clayton on Drums and Peter on Piano then a double time playing felt with Drums, Piano, and Bass. All Rhythm. What an arrangement!

Tommy Flanagan's "Mean Streets" provided an intense and glorious experience featuring Clayton. Incredible.

John Coltrane's "Soul Eyes" featured Allen on Alto Sax who throughout the evening added a Tone, Timing, and texture to each song. Trevor on Bass added a solo with the usage of his bow on the strings that was refreshing as cool rain on a warm day. Comforting and sweet.

Frances Langford's "I'm in the Mood for Love" was a special request made by the Queen of Jazz at the A Frame - Ms. Betty Hoover. Peter performed this with profundity and an attainable union by Betty and the audience. There was a cut-time feel on Peter's Piano solo and this harmonized with his vocal approach to a beloved tune.

Once again Allen's conscientious accenting Peter was priceless.

Miles Davis' "Blackbird" displayed obvious joy between the musicians and the Rhythm section laid out a wonderful groove behind Allen as he roared throughout the infectious song. Allen continued with his ferocious and deliberate tone that was worthy of many shouts through the varied chorus.

Allen shared remarkably on Peter Smith's "Blues for Alvas". A song giving tribute to a splendid Jazz space in San Pedro, CA. The tune was filled with down home soul, a spiritual sacredness, and authenicity that is just a integral part of the Blues.

A Drum roll intro by Clayton on Joe's Henderson's "Mamacita" made one want to vocal their own Halleljah in the House that Betty built. There was Clayton's wallet on the Drums as he played that inflicted the coolest groove ever to the sound.

Allen played a few bars to the audience then rhythmically turned his back to the sun deck where 2 audiences sat giving them a momentarily private croon.

"Bradley's Nights" another original by Peter was dedicated to the great venue in New York's Greenwich Village originally owned by Bradley Cunningham and later operated by his wife Wendy. Bradley's hosted many unforgettable nights with musicians such as Kenny Barron, John Hicks, Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, George Cables and many more.

True to Jazz listening fashion, aficionado and aficionada alike relished in the comfy living room feel of the club. Bradley's has been described by disciples of Jazz and the musicians who perform as, and I'm paraphrasing “like playing and listening in my living room".

The tune "Bradley's Nights" was filled with the embrace of Be-bop. Peter had the exact touch, modulation, and color that lead audience members transcending to New York City in spirit. This was done without leaving the A Frame.

Peter's original work of art, "Put My Fears to Rest" was a calming and haunting whisper that spoke volumes in love and union. The resolving of within various moments in the song left you with an almost spiritually calming influence.

Trevor gave an amazing solo leaving the audience spellbound and Allen's wonderful solos lingered in the air and our hearts.

"Old Devil Moon" rocked the house with a funk groove on vocals by Peter and the audience swung with the music. Pure joy, dazzling Piano arpeggios and runs with a beguiling groove that was rhythmically pleasing, concluding with a vivid cadenza.

The most fulfilling aspect of this Quartet is the link with the audience and each other. It felt timeless and brought us into oneness with the music.

A cherished afternoon satisfied the audience on a weather perfect autumn day at the A Frame.

About the Writer

Kim is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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2 comments on Autumn Arpeggios at Jazz at the A Frame

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By Angie Alaniz on October 22, 2011 at 01:52 am

I know of Tommy Flanagan's a/k/a The Jazz Poet.

His "Mean Streets" is intense. Not to many people can sit threw that one. You need a good ear and open mind to feel that music other wise your totally lost and left wondering "what were they smoking before they got on the stage?

Sounds like an awesome night.

Thanks for sharing it. Did bring back some memories.

I enjoyed picturing it all. ;)

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By Kim on October 24, 2011 at 03:06 pm

Hi Angie, Thank you! Yes, "Mean Streets" is a great tune with lots of depth. And, it definitely was a awesome night.

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