“A Concise Genius”
It was this august August when Ed Vodicka played for the chasm of the classic Catalina Jazz Club, Hollywood, California. Still there in the air were the repercussions of echoes of what I had heard “back when,” when Woody Herman’s band or Arturo Sandoval had aggrandized the room and the lives of us aficionados forever clinging to the great music form of “Jazz.”
Ed is a friend of those who truly like and want music to “go right.” This kind of learned genius just automatically sets the air aright with the strict ear markings of conservatory learning and “decades of dues,” the kind paid for with painful perfection. It was obvious from the very first downbeat that Ed was keeping the repertoire locked into the restraints of exactly how his selected songs “must be played.”
In all the trappings of performance, stage and personnel the smooth execution of Ed’s musical focus came shining through from the deep meaningful ballads to the complex big band converted re-orchestrations of the likes of straight-ahead jazz, Brazilian classics and esoteric love songs. Ed worked with his trio, Messer’s [Kirk] Smith on bass and [Kendall] Kay on drums as though it actually was an orchestra, impeccable in voicing, timing and personality inflection.
Hearing the mastery emitted on that stage was a process of combining listening with focused seeing. Vodicka shed an aura around the small stage and it glowed and vibrated with a rare, profound sense of quintessential musical genius, yes, and a genius never straying far from the beauty of the simplicity and warmth of performance cognizance and the gentle inflections of the meaning offered by the composers themselves.
That night I witnessed an audience so consumed by the interpretations performed that there was no room for finger snapping nor foot tapping; I looked around and saw the engulfment of people’s total appreciation and enjoyment. Even my own highly trained concentration could not get enough of the perfection Ed Vodicka was demonstrating, — a rare, completely ensconced type of genius that cared about portraying the beauty of the music committed to performance.
This evening with Ed Vodicka needs no individual delineation of number after number as normally given to reviews of musical nights’ out. This enchanting night was given over to an august wave of musicality on that August night, never to be forgotten. Thanks, Ed, for the profound performance.
Truly……………………………………. John-Giovanni Corda
(August 17, 2018)