In the compressed, sometimes circular history of jazz, the freshest ideas often come from the past.
Many young musicians, looking to push their music forward, are now mining the music of the late 1950s and '60s, the birth of what we think of as modern jazz. A quintet led by trumpeter Thomas Marriott, 33, will attempt to re-create and reinterpret that sound Sunday in a show at the New Orleans Creole Restaurant billed as a tribute to hard-bop pianist and composer Horace Silver.
It's a tricky thing, the nostalgia effect," said Marriott, who with tenor saxophonist Cory Weeds conceived the idea. We're trying to get butts in seats, but we don't want to be putting this music on in a museum. It's more about keeping it alive and well and putting our own spin on it, not doing exact covers per se, but having our own twist.
Horace's tunes are very definitive of a certain style of jazz music, influenced by Latin and African music, the blues and gospel. There's a lot of stuff to tap into."
Silver, who turned 81 Wednesday, was a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, the emblematic jazz group of its time. It employed many of the most talented young musicians of its day and is associated with having created the Blue Note sound, a brand of hard bop that defined the record label.
The music we're playing is testosterone music," said drummer Matt Jorgensen, who joins pianist Travis Shook and bassist Phil Sparks to compose the quintet's rhythm section. It's very muscular and very raw. That period of jazz is often mischaracterized. It was really like punk rock. You were going from big groups to small groups. It's music that demands to be played with conviction."
The set is a departure from much of the jazz played locally, an ethereal, experimental, more intellectualized sound.