Without a doubt the best perk of my internship at the Dakota Jazz Club is to be able to listen to the sound-check of all the artists. It always feels like a personalized concert, and provides a behind the scenes glance at how the artists set up the stage, how they interact with each other, and some previews of the track list from the upcoming concert. In a venue with only 250 seats, the sound-checks are even more intimate than the concert itself.
This is why I made sure I went into work the day of the Chick Corea & The Vigil concert. The Vigil came out to play and jammed out for a long time, but unfortunately Chick Corea didn’t show up to his own sound-check – the guitarist Charles Altura took over the piano for a while.
I went to the late night session with a friend, and sat at a sweet spot upstairs where I could see the whole action on the stage. It was interesting to see a different kind of audience at the Chick Corea & The Vigil concert – many people had come to enjoy the music alone. Small tables were full of people who had come by themselves – and they all seemed to be enjoying it to the fullest.
It’s fascinating to see how a classy, nationally acclaimed jazz club works – Dakota has a staff of almost 150 awesome people, and it’s a machinery that works in high-intensity everyday. Even moving the piano has a schedule that has to be set up – removing the feet of the piano, carrying it off of the stage to the hallway in the back (that we share with Chipotle) takes a lot of people’s energy. Chick Corea ordered a piano – according to my coworkers there are around 10 of those in the world – that had to be delivered and carried on the stage. It was so monumental that it took up most of the stage.. I am thinking of writing a post in the future about the behind the scenes of Dakota Jazz Club – the system is very intriguing.
Back to the concert – Chick Corea’s new electronic jazz project, The Vigil, consists of an immensely talented group of musicians – Charles Altura on the guitar (who Chick said is really amazing “even though he’s from the West Coast”), who is also coming up with a new album soon. Carlitos Del Puerto on the bass was playing sitting on the floor at some point (arguably, the second set was 2 hours and 40 minutes.. 40 minutes longer than the first set.) Marcus Gilmore was on the drums, his solos left the audience flying out of their seats clapping. Gilmore is the grandson of the greatest Jazz drummer Roy Haynes, who Chick Corea always saw as a mentor and good friend, and composed a song about him called Royalty, which he performed during the set. Tim Garland on the sax, flute, and clarinet, influenced the energy of the stage greatly with his talent. Luisito Quintero on percussion also had an amazing solo – throughout which Chick would walk over and hit his drums and keep him company.
I loved everything about this concert – but one of my favorite aspects of it was Chick’s energy and intent to take the spotlight off of himself. You could tell from his words how affectionate and devoted he is to the musicians of The Vigil – and pure regard he has for them. He focused a large chunk of the concert focusing on their music as well.
The opening track of the concert was written as a response to Miles Davis’ song, Footprint (Miles Smiles) and was called Fingerprint. The finale of the concert was a 25 minute take of Spain – one of Chick Corea’s most well-known, prominent compositions. By then, the audience was on their feet, completely entrenched in the music, occasionally yelling out “yeah, Chick!”
Overall, this was one of the most intimate jazz concerts I have ever been to, and there seemed to be a sort of connection between the audience and the musicians as I’ve never seen before. Here’s Chick talking about the importance of that connection (which is why I think he loves intimate, small concerts although he is a jazz legend.)
And some shaky photos from the concert..
Hope you enjoyed the second episode of Live Notes, I’m not entirely sure who I’ll write about in the next episode, but it will very likely be Roy Hargrove Quintet, Hiromi – The Trio Project, or Bebel Gilberto (Joao Gilberto’s daughter!).