Some of the biggest names in the world of jazz all in one touring ensemble, and to be fair they have been working together for some time. It is rare that we get a chance to stage one of the great American bands in their entirety, but this was made possible because our friend John Daly brought them into Limerick Jazz Festival and we were able to benefit from them already being in Ireland. Bravo! A triumph.
Paul Jost is without doubt one of the greatest living jazz vocalists, an improviser and writer, a creator and someone who leads by empowering others. Jim Ridl, one of the first-call jazz pianists in New York who left us all scratching our heads in disbelief…what a monster!! Then there was the combination of Tim Horner drums and Dean Johnson bass who interlock like one of the great drums / bass teams in jazz as they truly are. Incredible musicianship, amazing individual technique on their instruments, respectfully parking all that stuff at the door as they combined at all times to put the music first. They had played it before as a unit on so many occasions and that was why we were able to witness music that was internalised, but like all great jazz musicians, the solos themselves were different every time. What we witnessed was magical, everyone playing to a ridiculous level, but the story is something that I can attest to with my hand on my heart. The magic was in the uniqueness of what they do. They have evolved a method of musical delivery that is unique to them, altering the melody, reharmonising the songs, creating space with each other that is interconnecting.
Our musical family that was present were very much part of the musical creation on the night, holding their breath to see what was coming next, fist-pumping and cheering at the end of key solos and tunes, then our favourite part, meeting the band afterwards in the kitchen with Maggie conducting the nibbles and the sips. It was perfection, a night none of us will ever forget.