Loose Gravel at the Zocalo

There will be a load of Loose Gravel on the bandstand, 7 p.m. this Saturday




There will be a load of Loose Gravel on the bandstand, 7 p.m. this Saturday, at Zocalo’s Cafe in downtown Courtenay.

This band has been surprising jazz audiences and themselves by staying together for several years without the harmonic glue of a chording instrument.

Loose Gravel has adopted the tradition started essentially by jazz sax great Gerry Mulligan in 1952 and 53, when the piano was removed from where he was playing in Hollywood. That band featured beside Mulligan, a young trumpeter named Chet Baker. Already Loose Gravel has been together longer than Mulligan’s band and expects to ultimately overtake the Rolling Stones for band longevity.

The lack of an instrument chording through a tune allows individual band members a wide harmonic freedom, fully exploited by Tony Morison on flute and saxophones, and Jay Havelaar on trumpet. Both players bring a wealth of experience and creativity to the role. Underpinning, and sometimes undermining, it all is bassist James Lithgow and Oscar Robles on drums and percussion.

Previous bandstand hi-jinks have included “near” chords on the bass and multiple tone layers on the drums. No actual chords were hurt in the process but egos were bruised.

“Sometimes I’ll think I hear a chord when we’re playing something by Monk or Ellington”, says reeds man Morrison, “but it’s the lost chord.”

If that chord is found please return it to Loose Gravel, Zocalo’s Cafe, 5th and Cliffe, 7 p.m. Saturday Nov. 8.


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