Quixote’s True Blue
Words, Photos & Video By J-man
Audio By Corey Sandoval (Kind Recordings)
I’m a “bean counter.” According to Willie Waldman, it’s not about the numbers. That’s a typical line from a jazz musician and following my conversation with Willie’s bass player for the evening, Garrett Sayers, about his trio and upcoming album, Willie had a lot more to say. His moniker reflected the attitude and thought process of a jazz musician. If you don’t know, Willie is a hurricane of energy and holds no punches when it comes to speaking his mind about everything. My conversation with Willie was calmer than previous experiences and though him and I have had words in the past, that night he spoke very candidly with me about mistakes he’d made, his life and Live Nation. That night I found myself “counting beans” (gauging attendance) and there were more “beans” than I had seen Willie pull in Denver in some time.
Rumors had circulated leading up to the show about the potential appearance of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bass player, Flea, turning out following his sold out show at The Pepsi Center. The first set started to a near empty room and grew in size with the initial “composition” taking shape. Heavy bass lines from Garrett opened up into some fairly loose drumming and a sort of somber trumpet took over. What followed were two sets of free jazz that included some fantastic moments. Throughout the two sets the project was joined by Jamie Mitchell on guitar, however no Flea.
For folks who had turned out to see the “special guest,” there was none. For people who turned out to see Flea, they got a “Live Nation killed us” rant from Willie. If you were there for any other reason but music, you may have left disappointed. However, for those jazz fans in attendance, seeking a free form oasis, there was no disappointment. Music fans were treated to a rare performance of a genre that no longer has a place to call home in this part of the country. Free form jazz has all but faded into obscurity, however, there was Willie keeping the music alive. Ultimately Willie was right, when it comes to jazz, there really can be no “bean counting” and it is all about the music.