Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Yoshi's and the McCoy Tyner Quintet

Sorry for the late posting, but my wife's birthday was this weekend and I was gone. That and my cold was hanging on until late yesterday.

My wife and I had talked about going to Yoshi's in Jack London Square in Oakland for years. I decided that along with a little shopping spree, I would treat my wife to sushi and jazz at the world famous club. What's interesting about Yoshi's is that it is so Japanese on the restaurant end, and very jazz on the club end of the spectrum. For example, dinner was some of the better Japanese food that I've had (Ocotime in Ukiah is still better), although the portions were a little small. The miso soup was excellent, the sushi was fresh, and the teriyaki chicken was flavorful. With a little wine and coffee, the price was still fairly reasonable.

I had chosen this particular night because of the McCoy Tyner Quintet, the group that was playing for a two week stint at Yoshi's. I chose that group because my wife and I were only just appreciating jazz, and the name I recognized on the list in the quintet was Ravi Coltrane, son of legendary saxophonist John Coltrane. I was in for an pleasant surprise. First of all, my wife didn't really enjoy the show. It seemed like she expected a much more structured "concert" style performance, while I was hoping that a more "jam session" method prevailed. The latter was the case, much to my wife's disappointment. However, I enjoyed the Quintet immensely.
First off, McCoy Tyner is apparently a legendary jazz pianist who used to perform with John Coltrane. His work on Saturday night was very good, although he seemed to fade into the background for some of the younger talent on occasion.
Ravi Coltrane played the saxophone, and played it very well. His notes started off smooth and mellow, and then he seemed to feel a grove much more as the night went on.
I had no clue who Bobby Hutcherson was, even though most people around me were very excited to see him play. Apparently, Hutcherson is the single greatest vibraphonist ever to play. What's a vibraphone? Simply a xylophone with metal rods instead of wooden ones. Holy God could this man play.
Eric Harland and Charnett Moffett rounded out as drummer and bassist respectfully. Both were entranced with the music and the solos were incredible, with motion and sound that I never though possible using instruments.

All in all, an excellent jazz experience. It made you do much more than listen, it made you feel.
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