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Dave Brubeck Quartet and Bill Smith at the Earshot Jazz Festival

Buster Williams (photo by Alan Nahigian)

From leader Buster Williams’ unaccompanied, opening bass rumination, which clued and cued drummer Lenny White into some shimmeringly rhythmic cymbal sounds, the attention of the near-capacity audience was whetted. With the entrance of Eric Reed’s piano and Javon Jackson’s tenor saxophone the theme of the burner “Dual Force” (formerly “Firewater”) was introduced. By the time it ended that attention was rapt and wrapped up for the rest of the set.

Jackson’s horn catapulted out of the song’s head with fluidity and tenor toughness. Like so many players who came of age in the ’80s Jackson was influenced by Coltrane but more so by Rollins and there is some Dexter Gordon in there as well. Now he is a seasoned, young veteran who, in his maturity, has integrated his main men within his own personality.

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