Everybody wants to be heard and understood, and artists are always looking for that ideal vehicle to get their ideas across.
By JOE KLOPUS
The Kansas City Star
For alto saxophonist and composer Bobby Watson, the reigning tribal chieftain of Kansas City jazz, that ideal vehicle might be his Horizon band, which celebrates a joyous reunion this weekend at the Blue Room.
The Horizon band started about 30 years ago, with the idea of helping new players on the scene work out their ideas and build their careers, just as Art Blakey had done for Watson.
The vehicle worked pretty well for a while, with a shifting cast of characters. Then drummer Victor Lewis came into the band, and the vehicle got better and better.
For a while in the 90s, the Horizon band reached something of an ideal, a time when the personnel stabilized and everything seemed to jell. Of course, it couldnt last forever, especially with Lewis becoming one of the most in-demand drummers on the planet.
But that period and that band left a big impression, even on the band members so they still get together from time to time.
This is perhaps the Horizon band with the most staying power: Watson with trumpeter Terell Stafford, now busy in academia and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra; pianist Edward Simon, a lyrical player whos busy exploring his own path; bassist Essiet Okon Essiet, one of the go-to guys on the New York scene; and Lewis.
This is, perhaps, the best vehicle Watson has ever had. Though hes surely looking for new ones.
This is an example of how a jazz quintet should really work.
One for Everette
Organist Everette DeVan has given us much great music and given many younger musicians so much knowledge and inspiration. Hes an irreplaceable artist. But for a while, hes off the scene.
DeVan suffered some small strokes recently. Hes back at home now, working toward a recovery that wont be easy. And hes stuck with some serious medical expenses.
The Broadway Jazz Club, 3601 Broadway, is the scene of a fundraiser at 7 p.m. Monday. The room will surely be full of good musicians who admire DeVan, and full of the same good vibes he cultivates at his own shows.
Theres also an online fundraiser at GoFundMe.com.
Get well ASAP, Everette, because the Kansas City jazz calendar will never seem right without your name on it.
• Highlights at the Green Lady Lounge, 1809 Grand Blvd., include pianist Eddie Moore and his Outer Circle band at 9 p.m. Thursday and Saturday; stride pianist Bram Wijnands at 7 p.m. Sunday, followed by trumpeter Stan Kesslers quartet at 10 p.m.; pianist Roger Wilders trio at 9 p.m. Tuesday; and organist Ken Loverns trio at 9 p.m. Wednesday.
• Take Five Coffee + Bar, 5336 W. 151st St. in Leawood, has a quartet co-led by Stan Kessler and guitarist Danny Embrey at 8 p.m. Friday and percussionist-singer Miguel Mambo DeLeon and his band at 9 p.m. Saturday.
• The Broadway Jazz Club has the Sons of Brasil at 8 p.m. Thursday; singer Megan Birdsall at 9 p.m. Friday; singer Angela Hagenbach at 6 p.m. Saturday, followed by singer Sharon Andrews at 9:30 p.m.; bassist Gerald Spaits trio at 8 p.m. Tuesday; and bassist Dominique Sanders trio at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
• Evidently this is a big week for the bass players. The Blue Room has bassist Bob Bowmans Bowdog band (recently expanded to include two keyboards and a tenor sax) at 7 p.m. Thursday and bassist Tyrone Clarks quartet at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. The Louis Neal Big Band performs at 7 p.m. Monday.
• The free midday jazz series at Johnson County Community College is back. Pianist Mark Lowrey kicks it off at noon Tuesday in the Recital Hall in the Carlsen Center.