Notes on Brass, Bows and Beats @ Yoshi's

A few thoughts from the Jazz Mafia's Brass, Bows & Beats show at SF Yoshi's (which plays again tonight and tomorrow):

• Holy shit, that's a lot of people on stage! (an unofficial head count numbered about 30 musicians).
• B, B & B is an ambitious project; however, there were clearly more of the first two elements than the last.
• More scatting (in a jazz sense) than rapping.
• The vocal harmonies and overlapping rhymes were nice, though.
• So was the “Funky Drummer” backbeat Eric Garland played.
• The turntablist (DJ Aspect) needs to be more actively involved; on several songs he had nothing to do.
• The Jazz Mafia horns, which sounded particularly brassy, are completely unfuckwiddable.
• The orchestral movements added a John Barry-ish touch.
• Emcee Aima the Dreamer is dope!
• Singers Joe Bagale and Karen Paige have soul.
• Accordions can be funky.
• The late show, which featured an hour-long symphonic composition, was interesting, yet the segments didn't always connect perfectly and bogged down a bit in sections.
• The project's inherent theatricality could easily develop into a Broadway-type musical.

Final thoughts: B, B & B is definitely more jazz/hip-hop than hip-hop/jazz. It's not really a hip-hop project as much as it is an experimental attempt to inject some youthful vitality into orchestral jazz. The hip-hopity of the project suffered a bit without Lyrics Born (who appeared at the debut performance, at the Palace of Fine Arts last April), and featuring guest emcees would help up the street cred factor considerably. Word is that Blackalicious' Gift of Gab will be the special guest at the Saturday show, so we'll see. Overall, a tip of the hat to JM visionary Adam Theis, yet B,B & B is still a work in progress.

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