|Double Helix. Photo: Wikipedia, National Human Genome Research Institute|
Woodwind master jazz artist John Flanders and his band, Double Helix, introduced their latest CD “The Go Between” last Sunday. Before Sunday, “Double Helix” evoked images of science, not jazz. In previous posts, I have described my sometimes rocky relationship with science. For the record, the syncopating rhythms and unpredictable improvisation of jazz is less easy for me to understand than other musical genres. Yet … on Sunday night at Park City’s Egyptian Theater, science met original Utah-born jazz and didn’t look back.
Double Helix — the band — was formed in 2001. For those who haven’t heard of John Flanders before, he’s got quite the performance resume, and has worked with The Temptations, Billy Preston, Wayne Newton, Frankie Avalon, and Ben Folds, to name a few. He’s done his share of international tours, television commercials, and jazz festivals including the Park City Jazz Festival.
On stage, Flanders commanded tenor and alto sax, soprano sax, flute, and keyboards, sometimes one-handedly. He gave equal strength and passion to his instrumentation during the entire two hour show, and I’m speculating he can easily bench press over 100 pounds with his lips. One flute number alone was over nine minutes long. That level of endurance comes with years of experience and untold stamina.
The show’s compilation of the band’s past CD hits as well as those on the new CD showcased the band’s versatility touching on funk, Latin, and even a ballad. Selections included “La Safe,” “Latin Blues,” Alkaline” and “The Gardner.” Besides the woodwind-focused delivery, the percussion was a spectrum of sounds and beats. The music sequence was highlighted by nebulous forms and colored shadows on a screen behind the band.
We found ourselves down in the “green room” with Flanders during the break. One of the group knows John and was the impetus behind getting us there for the show as well as VIP access to the band. Small talk and a few photos later, we were back upstairs for the second half of the show.
After the concert, I polled the group to see where Flanders’ music “took” them. The answers ranged from a swanky Latin or South American club to the sea, perhaps on a cruise ship. One fellow summed up his sentiments with this comment:
“I’ve never really understood Jazz, so I just closed my eyes and tried to feel the music and see if I could get it to speak to me. I’m afraid I still don’t get it, it’s random and energetic, hard to follow….. Hey that sounds just like Amy..”
Disclosure: Admission was $12. I was NOT compensated for this review.