×

Michael Brecker/Joshua Redman/Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra

They started about 18 minutes late, and the program ran until 11:20 p.m., but saxophone fanatics probably didn't mind a bit. It was "Tenor Madness" night at the Hollywood Bowl, where the faithful received blasts of what amounted to state-of-the-art burning on the tenor saxophone -- and not just from headliners Michael Brecker and Joshua Redman.

With:
Emcee: Chuck Niles Performers: Michael Brecker (Joey Calderazzo, James Genus, Jeff "Tain" Watts); Joshua Redman (Aaron Goldberg, Reuben Rogers, Gregory Hutchinson); Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra (John Clayton, Jeff Clayton, Jeff Hamilton, Charles Owens, Rickey Woodard, Keith Fiddmont, Lee Callet, Bijon Watson, Eugene "Snooky" Young, Oscar Brashear, Clay Jenkins, Bobby Rodriguez, Ira Nepus, George Bohanon, Isaac Smith, Maurice Spears, Bill Cunliffe, Christoph Luty, Jim Hershman).

They started about 18 minutes late, and the program ran until 11:20 p.m., but saxophone fanatics probably didn’t mind a bit. It was “Tenor Madness” night at the Hollywood Bowl, where the faithful received blasts of what amounted to state-of-the-art burning on the tenor saxophone — and not just from headliners Michael Brecker and Joshua Redman.

Brecker may well be our most representative tenor sax player for all seasons, ready and able to blow in situations ranging from the most innocuous studio gig to the most complex, flat-out acoustic jazz excursions. His influence among fellow saxophonists is immense — and small wonder, given the way he ripped through his set in the first half of the evening.

This was an assertive, brazenly aggressive Brecker offset by an antic sense of humor, exploring every permutation of freewheeling post-bop. As the centerpiece, he inserted an extraordinary unaccompanied takeoff on ” ‘Round Midnight,” making even repeated arpeggios sound compelling. Moreover, his band had the means to push him further out, with pianist Joey Calderazzo producing stabbing repetitions and ultimately a gospel fervor not unlike that of Keith Jarrett (complete with vocal obbligato), and Marsalis family associate Jeff “Tain” Watts mixing it up brilliantly on drums. At times, their last number could have been mistaken for a reunion of Jarrett’s fiery American quartet of the 1970s.

Redman, who can be heard interpreting pop tunes on the new “Space Cowboys” soundtrack and in straight-ahead, odd-meter excursions on his latest CD “Beyond” (both Warner Bros.), didn’t emerge until 10:25 p.m., though he still squeezed in a full set devoted to selections from “Beyond.” Redman’s quartet didn’t reach the combustive level of the Brecker group, although the romping, stomping energy at the end came tantalizingly close. Nevertheless, he is playing with a somewhat lighter tone now than in the recent past, his command of nuance and expression continuing to grow.

Alas, the programmers missed a great closing bet: They should have had the two tenors duke it out mano a mano in front of Brecker’s quartet. But there were compensatory added saxophone pleasures within the two sets by the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra — Rickey Woodard’s way with an unusually brash chart of “Georgia on My Mind” and Charles Owens’ endlessly inventive blues wailing on “Night Train.”

And the choice of the night’s most intriguing arrangement was easy: John Clayton’s eccentric treatment of Thelonious Monk’s eccentric “Evidence,” with quirks and crazy dissonances hanging out for all to savor.

Michael Brecker/Joshua Redman/Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra

Hollywood Bowl; 17,376 seats; $70 top

Production: Presented by Los Angeles Philharmonic Assn. Reviewed August 9, 2000.

Cast: Emcee: Chuck Niles Performers: Michael Brecker (Joey Calderazzo, James Genus, Jeff "Tain" Watts); Joshua Redman (Aaron Goldberg, Reuben Rogers, Gregory Hutchinson); Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra (John Clayton, Jeff Clayton, Jeff Hamilton, Charles Owens, Rickey Woodard, Keith Fiddmont, Lee Callet, Bijon Watson, Eugene "Snooky" Young, Oscar Brashear, Clay Jenkins, Bobby Rodriguez, Ira Nepus, George Bohanon, Isaac Smith, Maurice Spears, Bill Cunliffe, Christoph Luty, Jim Hershman).

More Music

  • This photo shows composer Hans Zimmer

    Hans Zimmer on Recreating Iconic Score: 'The Lion King' 'Brought People Together'

    Composer Hans Zimmer is seated at the mixing board at the Sony scoring stage, head bobbing to the music being performed by 107 musicians just a few yards away. He’s wearing a vintage “Lion King World Tour” T-shirt, frayed at the collar. On the giant screen behind the orchestra, two lions are bounding across the [...]

  • Dreamville Dreamers doc

    J. Cole's Watchful Eye, All-Nighters and Weed: Inside Dreamville's 'Revenge' Doc

    Having the No. 1 project in the country is old hat for J. Cole, but the instant success of Dreamville’s highly-anticipated “Revenge of the Dreamers III” collection, which features collaborations with more than 25 artists, writers and producers (among them: Cozz, Omen, Bas, J.I.D., EarthGang and Ari Lennox), took many by surprise. The first installment [...]

  • Kanye Kim Kardashian Selling Bel Air

    Kanye West, Kim Kardashian Lobbied Trump for A$AP Rocky's Release, Source Confirms

    Kanye West and Kim Kardashian lobbied President Trump to help release A$AP Rocky from jail in Sweden, a source close to the situation confirms to Variety. The news was first reported by TMZ. A$AP Rocky (real name: Rakim Myers) has been behind bars in the country since July 2 after being involved in an altercation [...]

  • Woodstock 50 Applies for Vernon Downs

    Woodstock 50 Applies for Vernon Downs Permit Yet Again

    For better or worse, Woodstock 50 isn’t giving up on Vernon Downs, despite being rejected twice already: The producers have applied for another permit to hold the festival at Vernon Downs, according to the Utica Observer Dispatch. Town Attorney Vincent Rossi confirmed the application was submitted Wednesday. This is the festival’s third application; previous applications [...]

  • Randy Travis Selling Nashville Condo

    Randy Travis Says 'Amen' to Condo in Nashville

    Multiplatinum-selling country music mandarin Randy Travis, who rarely performs publicly after a 2013 illness and stroke, has sold a house-sized condominium in the upscale Belle Meade area of ​​Nashville for $545,000, just shy of its $550,000 asking price. The seven-time Grammy winner and 2016 inductee to the Country Music Hall of Fame acquired the top-floor [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content