May 27, 20178:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Main Stage / Charlie Parker Stage
A lot has changed since this exceptional quintet – alto saxophonist Bobby Watson, his long-time ally drummer Victor Lewis, and now-seasoned veterans and bandleaders in their own right, trumpeter Terell Stafford, pianist Edward Simon and bassist Essiet Essiet – came together more than 30 years ago. Each member has long-since joined the ranks atop the present-day global jazz scene.
Watson returned to Kansas City in 2000 to receive recognition as the first William D. and Mary Grant/Missouri Distinguished Professorship in Jazz Studies and be appointed as UMKC’s Conservatory of Dance & Music Director of Jazz Studies. He continues to lead his quartet and release recordings, the latest being Made In America (Smoke Sessions), released in April 2017. Lewis – whose beginnings date to his work with the likes of Dexter Gordon and Stan Getz – at this point stands as one of jazz’s most significant drummers. Stafford has become a key cog in both the jazz performance and education arenas, not only leading his own small group, but also working regularly with the Clayton Brothers, Vanguard Jazz Orchestra among other highly visible ensembles and directing the prestigious Temple University Jazz Studies Program. Simon, a member of the SFJAZZ Collective the last two years, continues to challenge himself leading his own ensembles and composing longer, more complex works that examine the music of his homeland, Venezuela, as well as toiling in an equally impressive manner within the jazz realm. And, Essiet Essiet, likewise, leads his own groups and continues to be a presence in New York and around the world, owning a reputation as one of the finest bassists playing today.
So, when you talk about a Horizon reunion it’s not only special, but more than that it’s the meeting of a spectacular truly all-star ensemble.
As for Horizon, it was of the great bands of the 1980s-1990s. The ensemble, issued one spectacular recording after another for both the Blue Note and Columbia as well as other record labels. The group stood as the caretaker of the post-Art Blakey sound – a post-bop, energetic, soulful and dynamic quintet that performed night after night putting its uplifting spirit and pizzazz on display to go along with their individual and collective impressive talent. Any night Horizon plays is a special night.