Billy Reed's - Saturday, April 1, 2006
Tommy Sciple Quartet
Tommy Sciple - Electric Bass Guitar, Composer and Leader
Toby Koenigsberg - Keyboards, Synthesizer, Sampler
Jason Palmer - Drums
Tim Clarke - Trumpet
Billy Reed's is a funky, gritty club, and a perfect match for this funk jazz ensemble. Smoking is allowed. Drum wizard Mark DiFlorio is taking the door charge of $5.
The first piece is a strong funk groove. It has an odd meter, but very effective and contagious energy.
Second piece has a spacey theme, with a solid funk base featuring strong solo work by Tim Clarke. Strange, but beautiful metrics.
This band uses many new electronic effects. A synthesizer accompaniment by Toby to Tim's solo was very odd. Warped tones create a spooky mood, and his solo is very deep in this warping technology. A little disturbing, but interesting and effective.
Tommy Sciple was originally from New Orleans and now lives in Eugene. His leadership in this group seems to revolve around his ability to motivate the others to do what they do well. Tim Clarke is a good friend of mine and an accomplished composer and a killer soloist. His compositional works for dance companies are exquisite. Tim is about to complete his masters in jazz performance at the U of O. He has been able to make a full time living in music from teaching, writing and arranging, as well as performing. Toby Koenigsberg is a professor of music at the University of Oregon, and a very accomplished pianist and composer. Jason Palmer is well known among the Oregon players for his complex and sensitive drumming style. This is the first time I've heard him. His face is familiar, likely from the Eugene scene. (I lived there 28 years before coming to Portland three years ago.) Jason is a very fine player.
The next piece has a drum machine intro, and then the drummer adds accents to it, which seems a little weird to me. Nicely scored unison lines between the keyboard and trumpet. Still the strange meter, but the Giant Steps quote comes through and it makes it clear that this is a rendition of the classic.
Another fabulous drummer around Portland, Drew Shoals, showed up and sat with me. (I was so pleased to see that Drew uses earplugs to protect his hearing. Something I have neglected, and to my great regret. Smart man.) The ‘deconstruction' of Giant Steps continued with a nice unison repeat of the theme on the three solo instruments, while Jason goes off into a massively complex solo, repeated final chorus by Toby, to raves by my table mates, Drew Shoals, and the young lion pianist Ben Darwish. Drew says to me, "Tell them that Drew says it Rocks!"