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Monday, October 22, 2012

Brian Settles and Dewey Redman jazz at the Smithsonian

The Brian Settles Quartet at the Smithsonian American Art Museum/Patricia Leslie

It's free terrific jazz on tap at the "Take Five!" series at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the performance by the Brian Settles Quartet last week fit the bill. 

Settles, a tenor saxophonist, is a native Washingtonian who graduated from the Duke Ellington School of Fine Arts, has degrees from The New School University and Howard University, and has played with Curtis Fuller, Shirley Horn, Mickey Roker, and Butch Warren, among others.

The program was totally Dewey Redman, a composer who played clarinet, alto sax, and tenor sax over six decades before he died in 2006, six days after his performance at the Charlie Parker Festival in New York City, his last show.

Redman's son, Joshua Redman, also a tenor saxophonist, may be better known than his dad after Joshua won the Thelonious Monk sax competition 21 years ago. 

Some of Dewey Redman's compositions on the Smithsonian program were "Boody,"  "Dewey's Tune,"  "For Eldon," '"Imani," "Joie de Vivre," "Look for the Black Star," and "Sunlanding."

While mulling the problems of the world, it was rather nice to sit and listen to sexy sax sounds which took one listener away to a South Pacific island where peaceful thoughts were rudely interrupted by ominous drums, forewarning of potential conflict between the contemporary and the dark ages.  Or that’s the way a mind traveled. 

Next up was a hint of Days of Wine and Roses and rumblings of all things past.  Here came a bird to light upon a leaf and nearby lurked a lusty predator which inched closer and closer.  The tension built, and SWOOP, the bird was gone.  Just like that.  It was not all a sad ending, according to the music, since one of the parties smiled broadly, or at least, those were the effects.  

The group then played a “bluesy” number (“Boody”) which carried a listener to other places while sitting in the open (but enclosed) courtyard.  Have you seen the photos of what Kogod used to be?

Musicians who joined Settles at the Smithsonian were Thad Wilson, trumpet; Tarus Mateen, bass; and Terence Arnett, drums. 
The Brian Settles Quartet at the Smithsonian American Art Museum/Patricia Leslie
Plenty of room, tables, chairs, refreshments, and good times accompanied the performance in the Kogod Courtyard.

Coming up:

What:  Holiday Jazz at Take 5!

When:  5 - 7 p.m., December 20, 2012

Where:  Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th and F Streets, NW, Washington, D.C.

How much:  No charge

For more information:  202-633-1000

Metro stations:  Gallery Place/Chinatown or walk from Metro Center

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