The Oxford, Downtown Bend’s only swanky hotel, hosts a series of concerts called, appropriately, Jazz at the Oxford. Friday night, I saw Curtis Salgado– in a slight departure from the series, since it was more blues than jazz.
The Oxford banquet room was all gussied up in a charmingly earnest portrayal of a jazz club — including the obligatory purple lighting and a velvet backdrop. All in all, it was a bit too pristine to actually be a real jazz club, but the room was packed, and once the music was rolling, it mostly felt like like the real thing.
After being given complimentary wine, we sat in our reserved seats, side by side, facing the stage, with little sliver of table between us. When the band came on to warm up the audience, and I couldn’t stop watching the drummer, Edwin Coleman III.
I love watching a musician totally surrender to the moment, like they lose themselves, and stop caring about how they look or the technical precision of a piece of music. I find the technically perfect musician boring to watch. As a spectator, it is far more interesting to watch music pour out of someone. I like music as an art (vs. science). Edwin Coleman III is an artist.
Vocalist LaRhonda Steel came on stage, and she had her moments for sure, but I still found myself watching Colman. Then, Salgado sauntered in and finally wrenched my attention to center stage. Salgado was dressed in black from head to toe. His button-up short-sleeve shirt hung out over a bit of a pot belly. He is one of the only men I know who can get away with wearing short-sleeves, sunglasses indoors, and a beret. It all fit on him, somehow. Though it wasn’t his appearance that captured me, it was his passion. His first piece was all harmonica, no vocals.
Salgado and Coleman totally brought the “dirty,” and transported me to another place. To be fair, they got some solid help from John Pain (B-3 organ), Peter Dammann (guitar), and Nastos.
So thanks to Salgado and Coleman, I got lost in the blues… in Bend, Oregon of all places.
|Edwin Coleman III|