November 5, 2009

Week 9 - Jeff Lofton Quartet - Jazz To The People

Jeff Lofton Quartet
Jazz To The People

Do you remember what you were doing on January 15, 2009? Jazz trumpeter Jeff Lofton does. He was at a City Council meeting in Austin having that day officially named “Jeff Lofton Day.” Pretty cool when you consider Lofton arrived in Austin in 2007 with trumpet in hand and little to no fan base. He proceeded to play his straight-ahead jazz in dive bars on the East Side and little by little he garnered an audience. In short order he was playing the room in Austin known for jazz – The Elephant Room and earning a residency at the swanky hangout The Belmont. Then he has a day named after him. Not a bad two years.

Fast forward to today. I’ve been listening to the new release by the Jeff Lofton Quartet, Jazz To The People. I’ve got to say, it’s a great jazz record. From the kick-down-the-door first notes of “Headless Blues” to the slow burn fade of album closer “Rose,” it’s hits on just about everything I like about horn-driven jazz music. It’s loose and free form at points and strictly methodical at others.

It’s mostly instrumental, except for a beautiful rendition of “Crazy” with Danielle Howle on vocals. He follows that up with a six-and-a-half minute instrumental version of “Crazy” and it’s equally stunning. You may recognize “Shana’s Song” from the Austin Visitor Center’s 2009 release Austin Music Volume Eight.

My favorite track on this album has got to be the seemingly free-form jam of “Mouth of Gabriel.” It’s the longest track on the album as well, coming in at just over 8 minutes. It builds to epic heights and then breaks down to an awesome minimalist bass beat. Surely the most entrancing song on the album.

Now the small print. I have to admit, I have never studied jazz and I’m not the most knowledgeable person on the musical genre. My learning has been limited to a few CDs, The Cosby Show song, and a few nights of having some drinks at The Elephant Room. But, I know good music and Jazz To The People qualifies as some great music.

Of course, Lofton doesn’t do this all by himself. Players on this disc include Alex Coke on sax, Red Young on piano, Chris Jones on bass and Masumi Jones on drums.

Catch him live this Saturday as he’s releasing Jazz To The People at 8:00p.m. with a show at the amazing Mexic-Arte Museum (419 Congress). It’s $15 at the door but if you buy tickets online its $10.

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