One of the greatest things one learns from developing a taste for jazz is an inherent respect for your elders and the magnificent body of work that has been forged long before you came into the picture. When I was 19, and first getting into the music, it became impossible for me to think I had anything special, (as an aspiring musician), when compared to the achievements of Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis... the list goes on forever.
This weekend, Chuck Perrin and the gypsy venue known as Dizzy's, will present two concerts featuring absolute legends of the San Diego jazz scene. On Friday, April 20, at McCrea Music in La Mesa, tenor madness reigns in the form of the Gary Lefebvre / Joe Marillo Quintet.
Lefebvre is a West Coast Jazz institution, having played with all of the heavy cats from that era, including Chet Baker, Shelly Manne, Leroy Vinnegar and Shorty Rogers. I saw him performing recently at 98 Bottles, and he's still got the velvety tone and ability to sail though complex harmonies.
I haven't seen Marillo perform in some time, but coming of age in the '70s, he was everywhere. Joe kickstarted the local jazz scene, working at the Catamaran Hotel, Chuck's Steakhouse and other venues, and many of the then-young jazz musicians, like Peter Sprague and Rob Schneiderman came up in his bands.
Joining Lefebvre and Marillo will be Dave Kinkaid on piano, Tom Azarello on bass and Bob Daniels on drums. The concert begins at 8 p.m., McCrea Music is located at 8361 Allison Ave.
The very next night, this time at Tango Del Rey in Pacific Beach, it's a birthday celebration for Mundell Lowe who is turning 90!
The fact that Lowe, who learned to play bebop by performing with the legendary Charlie Parker, is still playing is an amazing piece of information in itself. But, don't go expecting to see some geriatric music performed by a cat who's hanging on to the past. I saw Lowe a few months ago, and he is kicking ass!
Music seems to be the fountain of youth for Mr. Lowe, who sounds remarkably modern. His chops are in fantastic shape, and his sound reflects an absorption of recent jazz guitar developments. He even designed his own instrument--with special bracing and electronics.
Lowe will be accompanied by Bob Boss, another excellent guitarist, with Rob Thorsen on bass and LA heavyweight Ramon Banda on drums. Special guests are expected.
The concert begins at 8 p.m. Tickets for both concerts are $15. Tango Del Rey is located at 3567 Del Rey St.
Photo of Marillo / Lefebvre by Dennis Reiter. Photo of Mundell Lowe by Anthony Cecena