A crowd milled in front of an unpretentious club in Glendale, CA. on Saturday evening, May 15th, 2010. The space inside is nicely lit for an evening meal and drinks. Mr. Elliott Caine and his ensemble of musicians set up for a night of sheer delight. This crew knows how to brew some of most exciting straight ahead Jazz and enchanting ballads you've ever heard. This was the line up -
Elliott Caine on Trumpet and Flugel Horn
Kenny Elliott on Drums
Chuck Manning on Tenor Saxophone
Mahesh Balasooriya on Piano
Bill Markus on Bass
The quartet began the set with Wayne Shorter's "Witch Hunt" a continuous and unrelenting energy was supplied by Kenny on Drums with a drive that immersed all into the tune. Solos by Chuck on Saxophone provided a ready answer to any question and Elliott's intensity is always blues-filled and impassioned, summoning call and response and his original creative resources that brought a pleased smile to audience faces. Bill Markus on Bass serenaded us with pulsating grooves that took us into the inner sphere of harmony, melody, and totality.
Lee Morgan's "Sidewinder" is one of Elliott's signature tunes. He knows what to do with this soulful selection as his horn speaks ever so effectively from his creative mastermind throughout the tune.
Chuck on Tenor doesn't hesitate to share in the groove with solos that tell a long and satisfying story. Kenny on drums is exceptional in energy, passion and impeccable timing reflecting to us all that "giving the drummer some..." was a necessity.
An interlude for lovers, singles, and all in the house was attractively depicted on Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington's, "Sophisticated Lady". The ensemble shared a loving embrace through Flugel Horn, Saxophone, Bass, Piano, and Drums. One could bask until dawn on that.
Mongo Santamaria's "Afro Blue" featured a totally kickin' intro by Kenny on Drums. I could have just ascended into the heavens on it combined with Mahesh's soul-infused solo and right in the middle of it...he calls on piano and responds right back without missing beat. Heavenly!
Bill Markus on Bass took us beyond joy with chord progressions that touched body, soul, and spirit for an immersion in pleasure.
Elliott shares from the very depths of that Afro-Cuban groove always doused in the essence of the Blues. All this mixed with that perfect touch of snare drum and high hat made for an OMG version of this grand piece.
Elliott Caine is a remarkable composer as well as musician and shared a few of his innovative pieces with us on the jazz journey at JAX.
"Defiance" and "In the Zone" were untarnished Jazz gems that spoke of the core of Jazz and Blues. A tribute to Elliott's son, called "Little Rio" was performed with love, warmth, charm and connection and a cadenza on "Little Rio" that enveloped me in the evening bliss.
The hustle, clanking, movement and chatter didn't matter in the room as the ensemble continued to woo us with novel pieces that spoke volumes above anyone or anything else present. The moment was all Elliott Caine Quartet.
This ensemble's union, passion, respect for the music and its message combine with their individual genius made for a glorious experience in music linkage.
Look for and attend upcoming concerts that feature this wonderful ensemble.