What an utter delight this recording is – wow. Major kudos to David Menestres for turning me onto this live session featuring bassist Roberto Miranda, members of his family (his father, brother, and cousin), Horace Tapscott, John Carter, James Newton, and Bobby Bradford among others. It’s one hell of a line-up (and doubly so since it’s apparently the first and only time Bradford, Carter, Newton, and Tapscott were ever on stage together). I’ve probably listened to this a dozen times in the past week and this jam shows no signs of letting up any time soon.
Throughout Live at Bing Theatre, there’s a weightlessness that permeates everything. So much joy echoes throughout each piece as grooves are found and sunk into before being discarded and the group moves onto the next flourish. “Prayer #1” is straight heat, with Carter and Newton at one point just going at each other with run after run after run. Tapscott keeps pushing the train forward as he starts hammering his own breakdowns and the whole thing goes supernova. After 17 sublime minutes, I never want it to end.
Elsewhere, “Faith” is laid back; a chance to close your eyes and mellow out while Newton pushes the flute into astral zones. He is so damn good. “Agony in the Garden” swings and moves, again Newton goes off. Hell, even Miranda’s bass solo near the end is good fun and shows off his skill and intuition. The little groove he finds near the end is short, but so sweet. I’m completely amazed that such a gem is just now seeing the light of day, but what an incredible find. Worth the price of admission and then some, you’ll be bopping your head for weeks. Absolutely killer.