“Good Jazz Beats All Food”

Anthology

Good jazz can not only evoke past scenes, it provides them with a haunting soundtrack -- moving music turning into movie music. In my case, the memory movies (with my jazz-loving teenage self as the protagonist) are shot in black and white, in the fluid style of the New Wave filmmakers of the time, with a backdrop of glorious, bohemian Manhattan in the early '60s, jazz capital of the universe.

Jason Weber is a dark-eyed, intense-looking guy, maybe in his 30s. A few numbers into the first set, he launched into a sad-happy flowing melody that tore my mind away from my plate and left my heart in little pieces. Suddenly: A cloudy Manhattan afternoon, early fall, no money for subway fare, trekking two miles down desolate 11th Avenue for a few minutes of solitude overlooking the Hudson River at Gansevoort Pier (then derelict with rotting wooden planks, not the chic spot it is today), from whence I'd later turn eastward to the Village to commune with my kind.

Jazz like that will outpower any food. Nothing you can eat -- be it chilies, wasabi, or the sourest yuzu fruit -- hurts as deeply as good jazz, and no dessert is as sweet. The only sensual art that has a chance against such music is the best sex you ever had -- preferably accompanied by 'Trane, or maybe Mingus's "Good-bye, Porkpie Hat." (Do NOT attempt this activity to the tune of Monk's "Little Rootie Tootie.") The next day I Googled Jason Weber. Found his website. Discovered in "Reviews" a roaring all-out rave from 2006 by the late, great (sucks that he's dead) Buddy Blue, who was apparently as surprised and as knocked out as I was. It seems that when jazz lovers write about Jason Weber, they end up writing love songs.

Breath of relief when the band struck up a Thelonious Monk number, all playfulness and mathematical structure, releasing me from the capture of my sentimental movie to get back to the entrées.

In the latening evening, Jason Weber and his sidemen were also cooking from the heart, another fluid, happy-melancholy melody, math and passion, drawn out in a long sinuous sax line that reeled my mind in like a hooked marlin. (Back to the derelict pier with a 16-year-old's vague heartache, watching the great gray river flow.) Food is an easy physical pleasure, whereas good jazz is often difficult and complex and apt to steal your soul. Sensual, too, but in a sneakier way. An image came to mind of an old cheap paperback of the sort published in the late '40s and early '50s. On its cover, a tawdry-looking hotel room, where a long-haired brunette lies on the bed, wearing a white satin slip and an ankle bracelet, smoking a cigarette, legs slightly spread, while a dark-eyed saxophonist kneels on the bed between her ankles and plays.

No chef interview tonight, folks. We're done here. The chef of the evening was not at the stove but on the stage.

(This review is dedicated to Buddy Blue and Judith Moore.)


- Naomi Wise - San Diego Reader
December 6, 2007
“Good Jazz Beats All Food” - Feature Article

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  • In Too Deep - 2013

    New 2013 release from saxophonist Jason Weber. This is the long awaited baritone sax feature album from this talented artist. Aggressive, funky & a unique approach to this under-utilized member of the saxophone family! “In… Read More +
  • 1st Avenue Reunion - 2012

    New 2012 Release from guitarist Mike DeRose & saxophonist Jason Weber. Mike & Jason would like to thank their wives, famiies & everyone who has supported them & their music over the years. … Read More +
  • Bringin' It - 2011

    New 2011 Release from guitarist Michael Rosati & saxophonist Jason Weber. Soul / Contemporary Jazz featuring sax & guitar as well as keyboardist Brad Cole, drummer Steve Ferrone & bassists Nathan Brown, Darryl Williams & Chris… Read More +
  • Five - 2009

    "Five" is Jason Weber's latest & most polished CD offering to date! This album, once again, features legendary drummer Steve Ferrone, in addition to drummer Duncan Moore, guitarist Mike DeRose, bassists Nathan Brown & Chris Kringel & keyboardists Michael Leroy… Read More +
  • Can U Feel Me Now? - 2005

    "Can U Feel Me Now?" is Jason Weber's 5th CD release. Weber's most powerful work to date, this album features the talents of legendary drummer Steve Ferrone (Average White Band, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, etc.), keyboardist Morris… Read More +
  • Something Blue - 2002

    Jason Weber has been playing sax for over twenty years. After earning a Bachelor's degree in music performance from the University of Wisconsin in 1994, Weber led an award-winning contemporary jazz group in southeastern Wisconsin. Weber's first solo CD, '1st… Read More +
  • Leap of Faith - 1999

    "Leap of Faith", released in 1999, is Jason Weber's second CD release of all original material. The album features Jason on soprano, alto & tenor saxophones, flute, vocals, keyboards & instrument programming as well as Mike DeRose & Scott Carter… Read More +
  • Snow - 1998

    A holiday CD to put you in the festive holiday spirit at the right time of year! For more information or to purchase this CD, please contact Jason directly. Mike DeRose - Guitar on track 8 Jason Weber - Tenor… Read More +
  • 1st Avenue - 1996

    Jason Weber has been playing sax for over twenty years. After earning a Bachelor's degree in music performance from the University of Wisconsin in 1994, he led an award-winning contemporary jazz group in southeastern Wisconsin. The CD featured here is… Read More +
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