Celebrating John Coltrane In Miami Florida

By Devondrius Brown

Jazz is calm and serene. It is generally for an older or more mature crowd. I have heard jazz bands play this music for several years now. I must say that my perception of jazz is bittersweet. I adore the saxophones in the ensembles, but then again I get very tired of hearing them, since I was forced to hear them for 4 years straight in high school. The Jazz concert that I attended was the “We Four” concert. “We Four” is a jazz band of four superior musicians from New York. The group thinks very highly of the late great John Coltrane. Coltrane, who has been deceased for well over 40 years, was a world renowned jazz saxophonist.

On Saturday, March 12, 2011, the ensemble decided to dedicate a concert to Coltrane. The concert was situated in the beautiful city of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I was able to attend this concert in my hometown for a low price of $15 (student discount). The venue, which had a maximum capacity of 500 people, was the perfect place to host a concert of this type. It wasn’t too big, or too small. The lights and acoustics were all state of the art, as the building must have either been newly built or newly remodeled.

Upon the band’s arrival, the person who stood out the most to me was the drummer. He appeared to be older than the rest. I was amazed at how well he managed to keep the beat as the saxophonists and bassist played. The four African-American males found the eyes of the audience as no threat; they played with the utmost confidence. I could hear the two Tenor Saxes screaming by the second ensemble. They actually had a lovely run in the beginning of this piece that intrigued the audience. My favorite part of their run was when they went from playing mezzo-piano and did a crescendo. This is what actually fully awoke me in the show. The saxophonist’s solos were the best part of the show; however, nothing amazed me more than drummer Jimmy Cobb who looked to at least be in his late 60’s.These four men really filled this black box theater with beautiful sounds.

It was not long though until I became drowsy again. The group began to drift back to old school jazz. This was bland jazz with not many octaves being included. They seemed to play slow, classical type of jazz. To be honest, I am a teenager who really is not a fan of the music, thus saying I would at least like for it to be more upbeat. When the beat slowed, so did my attention span. Eventually, the quartet brought back some fast paced rhythm. It brought me back to my days of hearing my high school’s jazz band. They sounded very youthful again, but not in a negative way.

In this course, I was asked to attend a few concerts. They all differed from each other, but at the same time had one common theme to them all. This was the theme of African-American music. In a nutshell, I can say that I enjoyed this Afro-Jazz ensemble. Though they lost my interest at times, I believe that a more mature audience member would still have enjoyed it.

“The repertoire will be a jazz lovers delight from that hard-swinging era after bebop when so many standards and bluesy compositions were arranged and played so craftily and like no one ever thought possible. No band can do it better than this one.” (Jazz South Florida)


Links

South Florida Jazz Welcomes We Four, a New Band of New York's Best Players, Celebrating the Legacy of Saxophone Colossus John Coltrane - 19 Action News
South Florida Jazz: We Four
John Coltrane Video

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We Four: Celebrating John Coltrane

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