A Place For Jazz kicked off the 2011 season with the Terell Stafford – Dick Oatts Quintet, among the best bands of its kind on the scene right now. A solid NYC group, they play original arrangements of classic standards like Cole Porter’s “I Love You,” and tasty originals like the gumbo-infused “6/20/09 Express.”
The concerts are hosted in the First Unitarian Society’s Whisperdome in Schenectady which proved to be an especially good place to listen to Dick Oatts’ original “JCO Farewell.” The piece is a tribute to his late father, and it sounds somewhat like the introduction to John Coltrane’s “Acknowledgement” from the classic album “A Love Supreme,” except that it never breaks into a true groove.
Bassist David Wong began the tune with an extended introduction that was wise and contemplative. Wong’s tone and feel were both effortless, and he wasn’t afraid to breathe and leave himself space in between ideas. His head hung over his bass as his lines flowed out into the audience, and as soon as he looked up, the whole group entered with an ostinato section where the drummer rolled around the kit with mallets, and the horns gingerly recited the melody. As the horn melody finished, Wong continued with a bass solo that sat on top of the heavenly clouds laid by the piano and the bursts of thunder from the toms.