LIVE: The Chuck Lamb Band @ Universal Preservation Hall, 10/1/16
Review and photographs by Rudy Lu
It could be said that Dave Brubeck started fusing jazz with other musical styles way before the jazz-rock fusion movement that caused both of these genres to morph in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Chuck Lamb was part of this latter movement, as the keyboard player of Dry Jack. And he has completed the circle with his 15-year association with the Brubeck Brothers Quartet, who have continued and expanded on their father’s work.
Leading his own band at Saratoga Springs’ Universal Preservation Hall recently, Lamb led off the evening with the Lennon/McCartney sad ballad about the ending of a relationship ”For No One.” His delicate piano along with the sensitive playing of guest cellist Petia Kassarova accentuated the poignancy and genius of the Beatles. The other members of the band slowly entered the song bringing it to its melodic fullness.
“Raggity Waltz” is Chuck’s rewriting of the Dave Brubeck classic “It’s a Raggy Waltz,” and the band played with odd time signatures such as 7/4 and 5/4 frequently during the song and throughout the evening.
The interplay of the different musicians and different musical styles was what made this performance so special. The musicians each brought their own set of influences to the table.
A member of the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Kassarova is a classically trained cellist who initially worked with Chuck Lamb a year ago when they cooperated on the music for a fashion show at the hall.
Saxophonist-flautist Jeff Nania – one of the busier younger musicians playing in many projects in the area and beyond – brought a jazz, r&b and soul influence to the band.
Drummer Steve Holloway brought a Celtic flavor to the show, playing the bodhran in time signatures that certainly were not of traditional origin in “Crossing the Border.”
Bassist Scott Petito provided a strong, smooth groove to the music, making all the disparate elements flow together smoothly.
Inspired by “Star Trek,” “Prime Directive” had an almost big band feel to it, referring to the grandeur and nobility of the Prime Directive.
The concert ended with “Mumbo Jumbo,” a funky piece where the band grooved – a fitting end to a fun evening.
GO HERE to see more of Rudy Lu’s photographs of this concert…
THE CHUCK LAMB BAND SET LIST
For No One (the Beatles)
Pea Pod Paradise
Cool on the Coast
North by Northeast
Crossing the Border