Story and photos by James Walker, Jr., Copyright 2010
Trumpeter Pharez Whitted chose the Hyde Park Jazz Society's weekly jam at Room
43 to highlight his first CD in over a decade. Whitted a transplant from "jazz
savvy" Indianapolis by the way of Columbus Ohio had his entire studio band in
tact for this memorable debut. Working with Whitted was Chicagoans bassist
Dennis Carroll, pianist Ron Perillo, guitarist Bobby Broom, along with Columbus
Ohio saxophonist Eddie Bayard and young phenom drummer Greg Artry from Whitted's
native Indianapolis. This aggregate has been playing together for major events
in recent years with Perrillo and Carroll being stable mates for years.
Make no mistake, this set was a CD release party with each number, with the
exception of "Weaver of Dreams", coming from his new Transient Journey CD.They
began the evening with a tribute to President Barack Obama with "Yes We Can."
This piece, like all others, were written and arranged by the very talented and
unheralded Whitted. He started off with the first lead followed by Bayard. This
was the first of many exceptional solos by Bayard who could hold his own in a
city noted for "heavyweight" tenor players. Bayard gained much respect from the
jazz aficionados assembled on the sweltering hot evening in Chicago. This entire
star studded band kept all sweating inside Room 43 with nonstop action from
start to finish.
Bayard again garnered the attention of the crowd on "Plicky," a number dedicated
to Pharez's sister, with fast, bright sax flourishes as he attacked each note.
The audience began applauding even before he completed his improvising. After
that number, the pace was slowed with "Weaver of Dreams." This was Pharez at his
best, as he adeptly completed it holding a soft note until it was inaudible.
They completed the first set with "Monkish," paying homage to the great
Thelonious Monk. Of course, this was Perrillo's opportunity to shine as he
displayed controlled rapid action on the keyboard. Broom also demonstrated his
varied skills on the guitar as drummer Artry, active the entire first set,
exploded with fleet fingers on his drum kit as the set came to an end.
Whitted began the second set with a story about his Uncle Maceo Hampton and how
he was influenced by Maceo to always seek the truth. Thus they opened this set,
with Maceo in the audience, playing "The Truth Seeker." Another crowd pleaser
followed, "Transient Journey." This mid-tempo number allowed all to experience
solos and concluding with all playing parallel parts that never sounded busy.
On the Latin-tinged "Until Tomorrow Comes," Whitted blew somber notes with his
flugelhorn. His ability to switch from high-octave trumpet notes to mellow
sounds with the flugelhorn separates him from many trumpeters.
World class guitarist Bobby Broom was really in a groove during this set.
Normally perched on a stool, he could hardly contain himself during upbeat
numbers and would jump up, twirl around while setting a tone with his guitar.
Meanwhile, drummer Artry and bassist Carroll were both very audible in the
background as this rhythm section was on point all night long.
Again the Hyde Park Jazz Society and Norman Bolden's Room 43 continue to provide
outstanding entertainment on the Southside for a seasoned adult crowd
representing jazz enthusiasts from all over Chicago land. For those not in
attending this excellent performance, Whitted's CD can be purchased at
www.OwlStudios.com. This listener highly recommends it.
For future Hyde Park Jazz Society events, refer to their website at www.hydeparkjazzsociety.org.