Improvisational jazz is not really my cup of tea. Though I hate to admit it, while listening to certain types of improv, instead of opening my mind, I sometimes cover my ears.
So Friday night's show at the Buttonwood Tree in Middletown was an unexpected delight. The home-grown improvisational jazz group Gaslight Arkestra, produced some raw and racy sounds, with righteous drumming by Jay Woods and soulful recitation by Stephen Campiglio, the group's co-founders. Sharing the stage were keyboardist Matt Bister, Dave Parsons, guitar, Dennis Martinez, bass, and Trek Perry-Culbreath, saxophone.
But for me, the night belonged to Woods. His deft sticks stirred the air with great articulation--dense rolls and riffs, rhythmic sparks, hot spots. Campiglio's monologue sounded off in Ginsberg* style with a taste for the somber, but not unsoothing. Bister, Parsons, Martinez, and Perry-Culbreath, in turn, put out interesting solos as well. The group's overall sound has shades of Coltrane, Miles Davis, other improvisers, as well.
The performance enervated and entertained me on every level--the Paul Merkado-Caribbean gallery show, the evening glow, and the less sultry weather added to the experience.
The Gaslight Arkestra--they may be local, but I think they might be going places.
Listen to Gaslight Arkestra sounds on youtube.com:
Gaslight Arkestra- Strides in Time
*Allen Ginsberg, American poet of the Beat generation of the 1950s. See Wikipedia for more information.