Ed Barrett and Friends

The Apple Barrel

March 14, 2004

Flutist Charlie Elliott talked at the bar during a guitar solo while a wandering trombonist walked in and was welcomed to play for a few songs. This was evidence of the laid back atmosphere at The Apple Barrel on Sunday night.

Apple Barrel's relaxed attitude fit with the tranquil and trippy Jazz of guitarist Ed Barrett. Conga player Pupi Menez and bassist Colin Corner rounded out the quartet. The band played modal jazz covers. Examples were Wayne Shorter's "Footprints," Miles' "All Blues," "So What," and Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage." The peppy flute and guitar tones and congas made songs less imposing. This made them good background fodder or perfect if your mind was already altered. The band was talented, but they didn't try to blow my mind. They just chilled me out.

Elliott was the center of attention. His flute solos were enjoyable excursions that dictated the song's mood. Menez was also pleasing. He mixed things up with off-time rhythms. In addition, he licked his finger. He pushed its weight on a conga head while riding another finger around the head. The motion was similar to one used on the rim of a wine glass, and the sound produced was also sparse and grating.

The only problem with the performance was Elliott. He seemed distracted, and he was surly. This took away from the music's positive nature. In contrast, Barrett had a ball as he sung along to his solos.

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