Three decades ago, a 21-year-old jazz drummer named Chuck Redd appeared in Bend as part of the Charlie Bryd trio at a gig at the now defunct Pat and Mike’s restaurant upstairs at 916 Wall Street. Byrd was responsible in great part for bringing bossa nova from Brazil to America. Pat and Mike’s was a restaurant/movie house (a la present day McMenamins) nervously testing the waters with its first jazz concert. The restaurant’s owners shouldn’t have been worried, the show was hugely successful.
Successful is also the word for this past Saturday night when Redd paid a return visit to Bend, this time to play the vibraphone and front a quartet at the 29th edition of Jazz at Joe’s at the Cascade Theatrical Company. Then, on Sunday morning, Redd conducted a clinic at the Cascade School of Music.
Over the thirty years since Redd last played here Bend has changed. So too has Redd going from an emerging young talent to an internationally acclaimed drummer and vibraphonist.
Based in Washington, D.C., Redd plays worldwide when not recording or teaching at the University of Maryland. Twice a year, he makes a pilgrimage to Portland to spend time plying with masterful young Oregon pianist Tony Pacini. The results of their collaboration is a tasty mélange of music from standards to bop, Bossa Nova and ballads.
With lyrical bassist Tim Gilson, whose broad grin gave away his love of the evening, and talented young drummer Tim Rap, the quartet delivered an inspired, tight and at points, transcendent, set.
Pacini’s lush take on “You Must Believe in Spring” was a show stopper, the groups tribute to the late George Shearing (“I’ll Remember April”) and a absolutely free swinging take on Duke Ellington’s “Do Nothing ‘til You Hear From Me” had the audience begging for more.
On Sunday morning Redd talked music and played with Pacini to a rapt audience at the Music School. When asked what the future of jazz was, he invoked his friend and jazz great, guitarist Barney Kessell, who once told Redd, that: as long as people out there like what you’re playing, you’ll be OK.”
He then added: “Jazz is hard to duplicate electronically and judging from all the young talent I play with every year, the music will live on.”
If Joe has his way and his audiences are any indication, jazz and jazz players have a future in Bend if nowhere else.
Photo by Bob Woodward.