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Gerald Carpenter: Lobero to Host McCoy Tyner, Brubeck Institute Ensembles

Jazz at the Lobero presents the impressive double bill at 8 p.m. Tuesday

Jazz at the Lobero, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. in Santa Barbara, continues with a concert at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 8 — a concert with a double bill that represents a generational leap of faith of considerable magnitude.

Pianist McCoy Tyner will play it up Tuesday at the Lobero.
Pianist McCoy Tyner will play it up Tuesday at the Lobero.

At the top of the bill is the McCoy Tyner Quartet (with Tyner on piano, Gary Bartz on saxophone, Gerald Cannon on bass and Eric Kamau Gravatt on drums), and the other half holds its own as the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet (with Alec Watson on piano, Sam Crowe on tenor sax, Colin McDaniel on drums, Nick Frenay on trumpet and Bill Vonderhaar on bass).

There are a couple of words that should truly be dropped from the media vocabulary, at least for 50 years or so. They are “icon” and “legendary.” The former is merely the Greek word for “image,” and the latter bluffs a dubious importance based on a complete lack of historical evidence. Both words have been drained of meaning through overuse, and neither ought to be applied to an artist such as Tyner.

Tyner is what is properly called a “master.” As to what a master is, I couldn’t hope to improve on Ezra Pound’s definition in his essay How to Read, so here it is:

“The masters. This is a very small class, and there are very few real ones. The term is properly applied to inventors who, apart from their own inventions, are able to assimilate and coordinate a large number of preceding inventions. I mean to say they either start with a core of their own and accumulate adjuncts, or they digest a vast mass of subject-matter, apply a number of known modes of expression, and succeed in pervading the whole with some special quality or some special character of their own, and bring the whole to a state of homogeneous fullness.” (Pound was writing of poets, but the definition applies to any artist whose work unfolds in time.)

It isn’t for me to say whether Tyner acquired his mastery or was born with it, but it is certain that it became apparent during the years he played piano in the John Coltrane Quartet. His reputation has grown steadily since then, to the point where, as a pianist-composer-leader, he has no living peer, unless it be the man for whom the other ensemble on the Lobero Theatre stage was named.

The Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet is a scholarship ensemble, rather like the Young Artists String Quartet at UCSB. Its members are in the institute’s Fellowship Program. They have won numerous DownBeat awards, including the 2007, 2009 and 2010 awards for best collegiate jazz group in the country. The Brubeck Institute was established by the University of the Pacific in 2000 to honor its distinguished alumni, Dave and Iola Brubeck.

Tickets to McCoy Tyner and the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet are $35 and $45, plus a $3 facility fee, and are available through the Lobero Theatre box office at 33 E. Canon Perdido St. or 805.963.0761. Click here to order online.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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