Alto saxophonist Sonny Fortune stepped right up, after two or three adjustments of his reed, and proceeded to blow like a demon, like an angel, and sometimes like an avenging spirit, for a non-stop 105 minutes plus.
When Fortune took the alto out of his mouth, we were at the 80-85 minute mark. Fortune then proceeded to drink his bottled water in nearly one gulp. I should think so, after such heroics.
It was a flat-out style of playing 'yesterday's heroics' you might call it. Like the extended blowing sessions in the 80's, the music poured forth freely from the stage of the terrific new concert space, The Young Theatre, in the Distillery District.
Drummer Rashied Ali's two arms and two legs played the jazz drum kit with a deeply rooted orchestral and structural flair and true mastery. He's a deep groover. He's a deep Papa on the drums.
And like John Coltrane who is a major musician, period, and a hero to many musicans and audiences, Sonny Fortune challenged our hearing and comprehension and concentration this afternoon.
Like John Coltrane, Sonny Fortune's way is to dissect a phrase, then slightly move it up, then dissect this phrase the same way, then move the phrase back down again, almost ceaselessly.
Right in front of us Fortune's taking the music apart, and examining it, all in an improvised context. Up on that stage, it's not about playing tunes.