I enjoy and listen to variety of music from classical music to rap music. I have attended many concerts, mostly symphony bands concerts. However, interestingly, through whole my life, I have never experienced jazz music and I have never been to jazz concert. Therefore, it was hard for me to decide which jazz concerts would give me most pleasure and exciting experience. I researched for jazz concerts listing and I have decided to go to the Ron Eschete Trio Concerts because it was held closed to my house and was free.
Compared to all the other concerts that I have gone to, the Ron Eschete Trio concert was a definite change in atmosphere. On February 23, 20001 I attended a concert held at Ahmnson Building in Los Angeles County Museum of Art, featuring Ron Eschete on seven string guitar, Todd Johnson on six string bass, and Paul Humphrey on drums. It was three hours long, from 5:30 to 8:30. I arrived there little late because it said to be held on times mirror central court but it was actually playing at lower level of Ahmnson Building.
As soon as I walked in, I realized that it has totally different atmosphere from what my expectations were for the music concerts. Unlike all the other concerts I attended, this concert intended for small audience, probably around a hundred people. Also, this jazz concert seemed very relaxed and comfortable. Most of people were dressed very casual, wearing jeans and shirts. But the musicians were dressed in suit, which seemed quite awkward to me. There was a good diverse group of people, from young children to senior citizens. There was also a pretty even mix of different cultures, too.
While the musicians were playing, I was surprised how the audience was. Most of the audience was talking loud, drinking alcohol and eating snacks. Some audience was even clapping hands and humming along with the song. This was quite an opposite environment compared to the concerts I went to. Sometimes the audience was so loud that I could barely hear the songs. It was interesting that even though the crowd was so loud, the musicians seemed very comfortable with it. They played the song as if the audiences voice was also part of their song. When audience was loud, they would play loudand when audience became quite, they played very soft and tender. It might be to get audiences attention. But, it seemed the musicians played the song along with audiences voice to me. Also, another interesting thing is that people would walk in and walk out of the concert place while the musicians were performing. This would not be acceptable in the concert I have attended, but no one seemed to mind in this jazz concert.
In the class, I have heard many jazz songs such as Groovin high by Dizzy Gillespie, Koko by Charlie Parker, Misterioso by Monk, and Jeru by Miles Davis. All these songs were played with instrument such as trumpet, saxophone, drums and bass. Therefore, I expected the musicians with saxophone and trumpet. However, Ron Eschete Trio only had guitars and drums. I have only seen those guitars from the rock musicians. So, I was very curious to hear what kind of sound electronic guitar would make to play jazz music.
As they started to play the music, I was surprised that electronic guitar could make such a sound. Especially, Ron Eschete was amazing how he could make various sounds. He was playing guitar but it sounded like sometimes tenor saxophone and sometimes piano. Overall, their music sounded very mellow and tender. And it was very fast tempo. Although it was very mellow and tender, the fast tempo made song very interesting and kept audience going.
During the concert, I tried to sense how they were communicating each other. They werent talking to each other and did not give even eye contact to each other. One thing I noticed was that they were feeling rhythm of the song with their body by nodding their head and tapping their foot. They also seemed to listening to each others music. Like the band that played in the discussion session, they started from the similar note when they played solo. Therefore, it had the feeling of connection for each solo part.
The Ron Eschete Trios concerts had some characteristic of bop bands. The band was small, only consisting of two guitarists and a drum player. Also, like bop music, it had a fast average tempo and the drummer (Paul Humphrey) played his timekeeping rhythms mostly on suspended cymbal. On contrary, the songs they have performed were more close to cool jazz which rhythms are much more smooth and connected whereas the rhythms in bop are more apart and varied. Moreover, the band played songs with guitars, which are rarely played in bop.
There are many different kinds of music that can be called jazz, but there are two elements that most jazz styles have in common. One is improvisation, composing and performing at the same time. The Ron Eschete Trio definitely did some improvisation during the concert. Each and every song seemed to be original and have own style added to them. It especially showed when each player had solo parts. Ron Eschete and Todd Johnson went from lower pitch sound to high pitch, showing various pitches they can make. They differed in style when they went solo. Ron Eschete mixed high and low pitch sound very irregularly and each tone seemed very distant like Monks style. Todd Johnson rhythm and tone was more smooth and close to each other, giving impression of cool jazz style. The other element is a swing feeling. This can be described as a feeling that makes you want to dance, clap your hands, of tap your feet. During the concert, as I looked around in the audience, I could see people bobbing their heads, and tapping their feet. Due to the fast tempo, the Ron Eschete Trios music just made people want to dance even though it sounded smooth and mellow.
Going to jazz concert gave me an opportunity to experience new atmosphere of the concert. I enjoyed the informal and casual style of concerts atmosphere. However, I disliked how people were too loud while the musicians were performing. The Ron Eschete Trios music style was not quite what I have expected. Although it was totally different from the jazz I was used to listen in class, I really like it. It was very modern, but also had the elements of early Jazz.