While the event at Pausa Art House billed as Don’t Shoot The Messengers: A Tribute To Art Blakely may not have followed a scripted catalog of familiar Art Blakely tunes, the band still delivered a powerful message. Which is, the legacy of music from the legendary masters, such as Art Blakely, lives on.
The Don’t Shoot The Messengers band was led by the young talent Jon Lehning on alto/tenor sax and featured Harry Fackleman on baritone sax/clarinet/tenor, Dave Schiavone on alto/tenor/soprano/flute, George Caldwell on piano, Jack Kulp on bass, and Alec Dube on drums. They kicked things off with a forceful rendition of the Ellington classic Caravan, which was arranged by Dave Schiavone. Setting the tone for the evening was the always superb electric bass cadence of Jack Kulp.
Other highlights included one of Blakely’s signature songs, A La Mode, with the band in synchronized form. The One For All (members with roots in the AB Messenger bands) jazz band’s tune Too Soon To Tell spotlighted the three horn player’s artistic rendering of this melodic tune. Another One For All tune, Smooth, was cast in a funky driving beat whereby Kulp and Dube interlocked on the beat. Caldwell invoked energetic rhythmic force on the Buster Williams song, Triumphant Dance Of The Butterfly. A beautiful tune.
Here is a short clip of the young talent Jon Lehning on an improvisational solo to give you a taste of the evening:
As if to send a message, the band saved the best for last in my opinion. The Cedar Walton tune, Ugetsu (Japanese for Fantasy), a song spiritual in nature whereby the performance captivated the audience. Arranged by Alec Dube, whose drumming on this tune was spectacular, brought each band member the opportunity to bring a closing message to the night in a mesmerizing way. Perhaps truly giving us an evening of living in the wonderful fantasy land of jazz music.
Keep Jazz Alive In WNY!!