Just when I thought the year in music couldn’t possibly get any better …
Along comes the group, Our Point of View. They were the main attraction at (Le) Poisson Rouge, “a creative asylum for both artist and audiences,” where WBGO (88.3 FM) held a bash for Blue Note Records’ 75th anniversary.
Our Point of View features leading artists from Blue Note’s current roster: Keyboardist Robert Glasper, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, guitarist Lionel Loueke, tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland and drummer Kendrick Scott, who represent the long line of young, creative voices that have been the lifeblood of Blue Note since its inception in 1939.
The repertoire is a mixed bag: new, original compositions and Blue Note classic with a contemporary twist. The music – a fusion of jazz, R&B, blues, gospel, hip-hop and other influences – reflects the soundtrack of their generation.
During a set that lasted two glorious hours the group breathed new life into Wayne Shorter’s “Witch Hunt,” and showcased a variety of fresh, original compositions. I was particularly impressed with Akinmusire’s “Henya” Glasper and Loueke’s interpretation of the tune, “Bayinnah” and Derrick Hodge’s uplifting “Message of Hope.”
The undisputed “star” of the show was the collective, six multi-talented rising stars who demonstrated in no uncertain terms that the music is in good hands.
The event marked the last performance in a world tour that included Paris and London. Rumor has it the performance at (Le) Poisson Rouge was their last. A reference to the fact that all of the band members are in high demand and lead bands of their own.
A word about (Le) Poisson Rouge, a performance space that prides its self on providing the highest quality eclectic programming and impeccable acoustics. It’s a performance space that has the look and feel of a public space, a place where anything could happen and often does.
On hand was National Public Radio, who filmed the event for posterity and Bruce Lundvall, the President and CEO of Blue Note Records, who watched the event like a proud father.
Next year I’ll compile my “Best Of …” lists in January. In the “city without pity” you never know where great music is lurking.
Photo by Tomas Pena