When two jazz musicians really bond, you hear it in the music — the way each one knows where the other’s playing is going, the way their personal senses of rhythm and harmony meld into one.
It’s as if they’re breathing together, even if their instruments aren’t the kind you blow into.
Guitarist Steve Cardenas, a former Kansas Citian who’s very active on the New York scene, and bassist Ben Allison have been one of those pairs for at least a decade. They’ve been heard together all over the world on CDs and in touring bands led by Allison, a prolific and quirky composer. And this week they’ll be heard together in the Kansas City area.
They’ve been through town together several times before, but there were always other soloists in the band vying for our attention on those nights. But this week there will be no distractions, just Cardenas and Allison plus a drummer — a stripped-down band running on trust, intuition and a shared sense of adventure.
Cardenas is a brilliant interpreter of challenging music, as heard in his work with Allison, the late Paul Motian and the late Charlie Haden. He’s also no slouch as composer, with Allison and Motian featuring his pieces. Meanwhile, Allison might be best known as composer and bandleader, but we shouldn’t slight his considerable instrumental and interpretive skills and his sense of musical fun.
Expect nothing short of collective brilliance when the Cardenas-Allison trio takes the stage this week. Expect free-flowing, intuitive jazz invention — masters who breathe together.
The two, with drummer Brian Steever, will appear at 7 p.m. Thursday at Take Five Coffee + Bar, at 6601 W. 135th St., Suite A-21 in Overland Park, behind the Von Maur store. Then they’ll be at the Blue Room, 1600 E. 18th St., at 8:30 p.m. Friday with drummer Ryan Lee.
▪ The Blue Room has trombonist Marcus Lewis’ big band at 7 p.m. Monday. Singer and multi-instrumentalist Lester “Duck” Warner and his band appear at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.
▪ Highlights at the Green Lady Lounge, 1809 Grand Blvd., include the Foundation 627 Big Band at 8:30 p.m. Sunday; organist Chris Hazelton’s trio at 9 p.m. Monday; the Sequel Trio at 9 p.m. Tuesday; organist Ken Lovern’s OJT at 9 p.m. Wednesday; drummer Todd Strait’s group at 9 p.m. Thursday; vibraphonist Peter Schlamb’s Electric Tinks at 8:30 p.m. Friday, followed by Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7 at 10 p.m.; and organist Rich Hill’s trio at 9:30 p.m. Saturday.
▪ The Broadway Kansas City, 3601 Broadway, brings back the house big band, the Broadway Jazz Orchestra, at 7 p.m. Thursday.
▪ Take Five also has the trio of pianist-singer-songwriter Alyssa Murray at 8 p.m. Friday.
▪ Stride pianist Bram Wijnands, guardian of the old style, headlines the next concert of the Spirituality and All That Jazz series, at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W. 47th St.
▪ The Jazz Underground series at the Westport CoffeeHouse Theatre, 4010 Pennsylvania Ave., features the Project H at 8 p.m. Thursday.