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Monday, March 16, 2009

Rebel Alliance Jazz Ensemble - Dallas TX

I was in Dallas early last week and was at loose ends after dinner. After a little research, I discovered that there is now a music bar (blues and jazz) in downtown Dallas. Well! This is very good news! It is called the Pearl At Commerce (because it is on Pearl St. at its intersection with Commerce). And it was walking distance from my hotel! Yay!
I strolled on over and had a seat in a very attractive space - great bar, decent stage and sound system. I ordered a "Bail-out beer" (The $1.00 special, a local brew called Pearl Lite) and settled in for some tunes. The entertainment was the Rebel Alliance Jazz Ensemble (see picture above). This group has two versions - the full big band ,which is the subject of the above picture, and an octet. I caught the octet - trumpet, trombone, two saxes and a four-man rhythm section. Every musician in the band was a monster. Many were grads of North Texas University (the school in Denton TX known for its outstanding jazz program). Two of the musicians are band leaders at local high schools, the trumpet player is a locksmith. I am always amazed at the talent that lurks among us in almost every big city.
The RAJE was laying down standards - "In a Mellow Tone," "Two-o'clock Jump," "New York, New York" and so forth. The crowd was sparse during the first set, but grew during the second set - it wasn't horrible for a Tuesday night. The guys in the band obviously weren't going to make any money - this was all about love of music. They were very tight and in tune; the solos ranged from good to mind-boggling. The locksmith trumpeter had impressive range and was nailing those high notes clearly and with great authority. The leader of the group played alto sax, baritone sax and clarinet. He was the master of all three instruments.
Yes, a very nice club and an excellent band. It was a great surprise for a weary traveler.

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