Le Bon Temps, d.b.a., and Zeitgeist
Elliott Cohn, Rob Wagner, and James Singleton
November 12, 2006
I'm condensing three reviews into one because I only have a little to say about each performance.
On Sunday night at Le Bon Temps Roule, Elliott Cohn and the Cosmic Sweat Society were joined by Shamarr Allen of Rebirth. The great thing about New Orleans is that you can catch a tight funk band like this for free in a room of twenty on a Sunday night. If you were in the mood to dance, the music was there for you. The group played a majority of covers and a minority of originals. The highlight was their almost metal version of "Come Together."
Monday night at d.b.a. saxophonist Rob Wagner was joined by a flamenco guitarist, bassist Jimbo Walsh, and drummer Dave Sobel for some rock oriented modern jazz. Even though it's always a revelation to focus in on Wagner mold melodies this way and that like clay, this performance was certainly more a pedastool for the guitarist. It's so much fun to see a master guitarist rip shit up. Even Walsh, who plays the guitar faster than anyone I've seen, looked impressed and perplexed sitting right next to the guitarist. Since the group only rehearsed once, this was a gig of discovery. I can't wait until things are more mapped out.
The James Singleton Ensemble played at Zeitgeist Wednesday night. Saxophonists Martin Krusche and Tim Green meshed with drummer Endre Landsnes, cellist Helen Gillet, Singleton, and pedal steel guitarist Dave Easley. The group played section-heavy, orchestral jazz. I was never sure where a song was going, whether it would collapse into near silence or jump up into sax-drenched glory. This was a challenging and good thing, but in the end, the saving grace of the songs was that they had repeating parts and schemes for building energy and tension. What was with the super-narcissistic video of Singleton playing on the wall while the band performed?