Tom Luther Quintet goes up the river
Bangor — The Midcoast’s Tom Luther Quintet will bring its distinctive brand of jazz to the Nocturnem Draft Haus Friday, Nov. 8. from 8 to 11 p.m. Nocturnem is located downtown at 56 Main St.
The music of TLQ is an eclectic mix that balances the harmonic and rhythmic language of jazz, the formal aspects of European classical music and the colors of ambient music and the avante garde. The style is heavily influenced by the "downtown" scene of New York City, as epitomized by artists like Tom Harrell and John Lurie's Lounge Lizards, as well as by jazz greats Thelonious Monk and Herbie Hancock.
"Herbie Hancock has been a huge influence on me over the last few years," said pianist and composer Tom Luther of Union. "His album of Joni Mitchell's music … has had a profound impact on me and is largely the reason we have these 'new standards' mixed in."
Some of these new covers include the music of Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Til Tuesday and Steve Earle. Luther said this is definitely a trend of late, with bands like the Bad Plus and Brad Mehldau performing their takes on pop tunes. But, really, this is what jazz artists have always done," said trumpeter Mike Whitehead of Thomaston.
"Miles used quite a few of the pop tunes of the day as vehicles for improvisation, including folks like Cindi Lauper. What we are doing is really no different. We're just drawing from tunes of a different generation," said Whitehead.
While TLQ clearly has a strong connection to jazz language, Luther incorporates elements from other genres into the music. The tune "Storm" features a harmonic outline that is first played forward, and then backwards — an idea Luther pulled from the “crab canons” of J.S. Bach “and its a cool music geek thing to be able to talk about, but for the listener, it creates this really nice emotional pyramid."
The title track from the band's album, "Everything Is Blue", emphasizes the flexibility of form. Soloists will "call" for a chord change be playing specific melodic material. This technique creates a firm benchmark for the listener and gives each solo section definite closure, which in turn gives the next soloist a clean slate and allows the ear to reset," said Luther.
The Tom Luther Quintet features Gideon Forbes on reeds; Whitehead on trumpet and flugelhorn; Luther on piano; Duane Edwards on bass; and Jacob Forbes on drums. The group will be performing these "new standards"; music from its first album, "Everything Is Blue"; and music to be included in an upcoming second album, titled "Necessity."
For more information on the Queen City gig, call 907-4380 or visit nocturnemdrafthaus.com.
Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or email@example.com.