Jazz Fest 2018, Day 4: Frank checks out and exudes much joy for the Joe Farnsworth Quartet feat. Eric Alexander, Trail of Souls, and Johnny Goldtooth and the Chevy Casanovas

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Johnny Goldtooth and the Chevy Casanovas. - PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • Johnny Goldtooth and the Chevy Casanovas.
Holy shit. That was one healthy dose of pure jazz. So powerful I had to wash it down with Raisin Jack, Jack.

The Joe Farnsworth Quartet featuring Eric Alexander played some hard bop with blinding heat. And even with bass and drums in the pocket so deep they were covered in lint, the show at Max of Eastman Place was a showdown between gunslingers Farnsworth on drums and Alexander on sax. Both are considered go-to guys with their respective instruments.

Farnsworth and Alexander traded off generous forays which popped up liberally. Farnsworth seems to always be playing at breakneck speed even in the gentler passages. The man is a dynamo and plays his whole kit, often moving tom rolls to the hardware which was reminiscent of the sound silverware makes when you catch it dancing in the drawer. They ended the set with Coltrane — how about that, Jack?
Singer Solveig Slettahjell of Trail of Souls. - PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • Singer Solveig Slettahjell of Trail of Souls.


More from the holy shit department: Somehow over time, when we weren't looking, traditional Norwegian folk songs blended with jazz to create a third indigenous music, exhibited exquisitely last night by Trail of Souls at the Lutheran Church.  What first struck me was the guitar drenched in warbling vibrato at the hands of Knut Reiersrud.  He played it to sound like a caged bird which he periodically let out to fly at greater volume, around the church unfettered and booming. Singer Solveig Slettahjell kept it on the cool tip and the whole thing came off as a mystical journey. It was lovely and a bit of a break from the out-there stuff reserved for this venue.


Holy, holy shit shit: Johnny Goldtooth and the Chevy Casanovas slinked across the Big Tent stage like a gang of double knit pimps on dollar night; all cocksure swagger and instrumental sleaze. Goldtooth is an alter-ego of Canadian hired gun Kevin Breit (he's recorded with Norah Jones and k.d. Lang) that proves just how deadly a guitar player he is. As Goldtooth, Breit plays a bad guitarist playing good at playing bad. That's how good this cat is. He sounds good even when he's bad ... on purpose. The musical is the kind of disjointed, dysfunctional jazz heard in a busted neon bump 'n' grind strip joint for the 5 a.m. crowd. But the Big Tent worked just as well.



Tomorrow night I'm gonna see Dmitri Matheny, Junior Brown, and VickiKhristinaBarcelona singing the music of Tom Waits.

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