Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsFixme

JAZZ REVIEW : LES McCANN IN TYPICALLY FINE FORM

March 16, 1987|LEONARD FEATHER

Les McCann, a regular favorite at the Alleycat Bistro, was back there Friday and Saturday, pleasing the crowd as he always does with his blues-inspired playing.

Swiveling back and forth between the piano and an electric keyboard, he loomed larger than ever--literally. If his girth were the measure of his worth, he would now be at an unprecedented artistic peak.

He prefers, however, to stay with the formula that has served him for many years. Before going into tempo with his group (known as the Magic Band) he may noodle around with a long introduction that will sound variously like a gospel hymn or a Chopin prelude. Then the quartet, underpinned by the electric bass of Curtis Robinson, Jr., will get a boogaloo beat going, with Bobby Bryant Jr. on soprano or tenor saxophone.

The instrumental numbers were all unannounced. McCann sang a couple of vocals, one of which was rendered semi-audible by the drumming of Tony St. James. The second was a cheerful, unpretentious piece presumably called "I'm Talking About You."

It took a full hour of treading water until McCann finally asked the crowd, "Are you ready?," then went into his ever-popular sing-along routine on "Compared to What?" But McCann is too talented an entertainer to need to rely on this almost 20-year-old hit; he could benefit greatly from newer and more provocative material, which in turn could inspire his side men to more inventive performances.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|