Last Friday evening, July 12, 2013, I went to Bert’s to hear the John Douglas Quartet. I had thought about going other places before heading to Bert’s. I get something special at Bert’s though and decided that was really all I wanted for this particular evening. The pic above is older. The last set is actually played from 2:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. Some times when I have stayed to the end, I have walked out of Bert’s to see the stalls being set up for the three block farmers market called Eastern Market right across the street which opens at 5:30a.m.
The reason I really like the John Douglas Quartet is probably the leadership of John Douglas. I like the numbers he chooses to play. I like the way he lets other musicians shine in their own right. When I walk into Berts, I am immediately relaxed and ready to listen. On Friday, there was another major cleaning up a car crash on the Lodge freeway. Seeing ambulances rushing to help the injured, passing cars that are only remnants of what they used to be and delaying with the traffic backup unnerved me. And I walked into Bert’s and felt at ease.
They were already playing. I sat down and was immediately sinking into the music where I stayed until the set was over. The quartet this evening was John Douglas (tpt, Mike Malis (keys), Ibrihim Jones (bass) and Butter Hawkins (drums). Each of the musicians has a unique voice. They were joined on some numbers by Davis Greene((tpt) and Dmani Phillips (sax).
All the solos had something to say. Mike had some really interesting chord progressions. Ib had some unusual riffs during his solo that I had not heard before. The music wiped out any tension I had and relaxed me to the core. Each number ( that I know) starts predictably with the melody line. This allows me to create the overall frame of the tune. Then as the number progresses, each musician starts with the melody or rhythm and move somewhere with it and back again weaving a lovely musical tapestry.
I went home feeling very good.