By Derel Monteith
When Ellen told me that she had drawn the short straw to write the review of my trio's show at Jazz Society, I thought "hmmm...love ya, but I'm not sure that's the best idea...a wife reviewing her husband's band." So I volunteered to write a little about the songs we played, without necessarily reviewing our specific performance of them.
As I mentioned at the show, these are all originals of mine that, with one exception, were written since I formed the band about 2 years ago. We started with "Folk Song," which I wrote the night of the November 2016 election rather than watching the election returns. It starts with a simple melody backed by a military-style snare drum groove, and after a brief interlude featuring the bass, has a solo section that eventually "goes free"---that is, we all solo simultaneously without any sense of time to hold things together. The time then returns for us to play the original melody to finish the piece.
Next was "Innocence," which I wrote to try to musically capture the notion of focusing on simple, beautiful things in the world and in other people; my daughter Ariel has always inspired me to return to that notion.
After bringing some contrast with "Trash Talk," an aggressive, loose funk tune, we played "American Melody," a ballad I wrote to try to reflect the desire many people have for our country to thrive, a desire that I believe cuts across political lines. To attempt to get there, I tried to echo traditional American compositions such as simpler works by Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein.
Next up was "Shifting Sands," one of my stranger tunes, with multiple time changes and textures; to bring the program back to a more familiar style, we then played "A Note From The Old School," which is basically an extended blues form with a few tricks thrown in.
After "Whispered Spark," a complex tune with many written bass lines (and the one old piece in the bunch), we finished up with "Spirit and Solidarity," which centers around a simple waltz melody inspired by a great performance given by the Brian Blade Fellowship at the Rootabaga Jazz Festival in Galesburg.
Thanks to everyone for following and listening to live jazz, and we look forward to seeing you at future shows!
♪ We welcome David Hoffman and Friends as our Guest Group for the March 19 Jazz Society concert. David Hoffman leads the group on trumpet and flugelhorn. Joining David are Kevin Hart on vibes, Derel Monteith on piano, Andy Crawford on bass, and Jason Brannon on drums. David Hoffman and Friends features an All-Star lineup of excellent musicians from the Central Illinois area. They will present a variety of standards and original tunes, including new selections composed for the Weekly Jazz Vespers service at Westminster Presbyterian Church. David Hoffman and Friends will begin their set at 7:15 p.m. The Central Illinois Jazz Society House Band, led by Larry Harms, will open the night with the first set at 6:00 p.m.
♪ Thanks to the Derel Monteith Trio for performing as our Guest Group for our February Jazz Society concert. Derel led the trio on keyboards and was joined by Andy Crawford on bass and Jason Brannon on drums. Derel presented an outstanding concert of original music, some performed for the first time in recent days. We thank Roger and Shirley Cunningham for being Program Sponsors for the February concert. Please contact any board member if you would like to Sponsor a future concert. Program Sponsors help sustain the Jazz Society through their additional financial support of our monthly programs.
♪ We also thank Ellen Monteith for serving as our MC for the February concert. We also thank Tom Harkless, Andy Bussan, Beth Bussan, Ray Ellington and Bob Cannon for helping with the concert. Thanks to Bill Duncan, Cedar Hills Sound, for providing outstanding sound for all of our monthly programs.