The Four Tenors



On Wednesday, February 24, 2016, an unprecedented summit meeting of tenor titans assembled at Al’s Den, the cosy, underground basement bar-room beneath Portland’s Crystal Hotel. Pete Petersen, Lee Wuthenow, David Evans, and Bryan Dickerson were given rhythmic drive by Mark Simon on piano, Ed Bennett on bass and Tim Rap on drums. The intention was to perform the music of John Coltrane, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims and Hank Mobley, via the work on and around the 1956 Prestige record ‘Tenor Conclave’ when Red Garland (piano), Paul Chambers (bass) and Art Taylor (drums) were the rhythm section.

Hence, the evening’s concert documented here was called ‘Tenor Conclave’. On the original LP, Ira Gitler’s liner notes state : “by no means what so ever was this a cutting session, but each of the four showed admiration for the other three”. The original music and professional respect was faithfully and sincerely effected in Portland this week.

Here’s the evidence, the title track from the LP. For those unfamiliar with who’s who on tenor in these here parts, nearest to the camera is Bryan Dickerson, then David Evans, Lee Wuthenow, and furthest is leader Pete Petersen :

The four tracks from the original work comprised the first four numbers of this concert :

The first set concluded with two more numbers, topped off with ‘Crazy Rhythm’. Pete takes the first extended solo, followed by Lee. David drops a little humour into the mix leaving Bryan to restore order. Amongst other exercises, the evening provided an interesting study in style contrasts, shades, textures, tones. This once again re-raised the assertion that there is no ‘best’ in art, merely a difference in taste definition and preference, and the subjective affection that arouses among the fan base :

Note the ultra-appreciative crowd response!

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