Quick – the most ambitious jazz musician ever to come out of Western New York? Go.
Big band drummer Mel Lewis co-led one of the great big bands of his time. Juini Booth remains one heck of a bass player, capable of an entire evening playing solo. Grover Washington Jr.’s popularity was singular and his soulful sound irresistible. Boyd Lee Dunlop’s brother Frankie was the greatest drummer Thelonious Monk ever had whose name wasn’t Max Roach or Art Blakey. Pianist Wade Legge was crucial to the early music of Charles Mingus. The list goes on.
You simply can’t have the discussion, though, without prominently mentioning drummer/composer Bobby Previte of Niagara Falls, a brilliant, thorny and ambitious musician whose apprenticeship with percussionist Jan Williams at the State University at Buffalo gave him a new music perspective other jazz musicians don’t have when they migrate from Buffalo to Manhattan.
What’s been so loved by many of us who have followed Previte’s music from the Moscow Circus to a succession of exceptional small bands to huge pieces inspired by Olivier Messiaen is that Previte usually comes here with his newest project. And when he does, he’s doing it to let us in on something special. That’s what will happen at 8 p.m. Monday in Hallwalls (341 Delaware Ave.) when we’ll see the exact opposite of his huge Messiaen piece, with a trio consisting of Previte on drums, electric guitarist Mike Gamble and Austrian baritone saxophonist Fabian Rucker. There are no uninteresting Previte performances when he comes back home – ever.
– Jeff Simon