, the ensemble's musical director, opened the two-hour concert with a duo version of Ellington's "I'm Beginning to See the Light" that included an entertaining scat- and-bass segment. Their colleagues then joined for an ensemble rumble through Louis Jordan
, that featured two-horn harmony with darker sounds from Akinmusire and knuckle-busting moves from Green. The rhythm section took over for a tightly integrated rendition of Gillespie's Afro-Cuban jam chart ,"Tanga," that had drummer Lewis Nash
' gorgeous "A Child Is Born," often employing sotto voce against Akinmusire's subdued horn lines for a prayer-like impression. That contrasted with the next chart, Green's "Benny's Crib," that featured stupendous solos by the pianist and McBride. Potter's "Wayfarer" brought another change of tone and pace, the saxophonist moving away from mainstream licks for a more daring and freewheeling sound; intentional dissonance was punctuated by Akinmusire's bold moves and Nash's muscular anchoring rhythms. McBride chose "East of the Sun" for his featured chart, delivering clean, strong sounds in Ray Brown
style for a purely straight-ahead rendition of the classic.
Then the spotlight was back on Bridgewater for "God Bless the Child," the vocalist delivering Holiday's plaintive lyrics with heartfelt passion, enhanced by a Potter solo in the same mode; but then she shifted into histrionic sounds and rowdy gestures, abruptly dissipating the tender mood. The final song was her funky and raucous version of Horace Silver
, a quoted reference to Mulligan's "Lines for Lyons" was, at least, anticipated. Not so on either count, and only the Gillespie chart to reference the Latin element of festival regulars, percussionist Tito Puente
. Ah, so many stars, so little time to salute them.
This was the fourth Monterey Jazz Festival all-star group since 2008 to tour North America. The itinerary of nine weeks and 46 dates began January 10, 2013 in Santa Cruz, California, and moved on to 40 cities in 23 states, as well as shows in Canada and Washington, D.C., fittingly ending on April 30, International Jazz Day, at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz.