Happy In Bag

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Doug Talley Quartet

The cicadas were making an ear-splitting din. It’s no exaggeration to say they were louder than The Doug Talley Quartet at Santa Fe Commons Park in Overland Park on Sunday night.

The saxophonist's band appeared as part of a free summer series designed to entertain geriatrics. The median age of the audience was 65, and no doubt many regulars dreaded an evening of grating jazz instead of the comfortable big band and Sousa material to which they’re accustomed.

They need not have worried. Talley is a jazz educator; his music is tasteful to a fault. The showcase was like a clinic- technically immaculate but lacking in fire. In addition to melodic originals, the group offered renditions of familiar crowd-pleasers like Take the 'A' Train, In a Sentimental Mood and Take Five. The group’s intricate arrangements allowed bassist Tim Brewer, pianist Wayne Hawkins, and drummer Keith Kavanaugh to work as a remarkably efficient unit.

Used as incidental music in film, or encountered unexpectedly in a hotel lobby, Talley’s friendly take on jazz would slay. But no one wanted to die Sunday night in Overland Park, except perhaps for those driven to madness by the incessant drone of insects.


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