You can spot the orange-and-black spines of the Impulse! label in any record collection, but their impact goes beyond design. The music, which defined ’60s jazz, still feels terrifically present tense. To celebrate the imprint’s 50th anniversary, the Standard takes a repertory romp with Impulse! Nights, a string of shows dedicated to key titles. Oliver Nelson’s Blues and the Abstract Truth is both moody and playful, and Roy Hargrove’s update should make ditties like “Hoe-Down” crackle. Gil Evans’s cinematic charts for Out of the Cool will be plushly re-upholdstered by Ryan Truesdell’s large ensemble. A two-trombone team led by Robin Eubanks zigzags through the tunes on The Great Kai & J.J., and there’s even a math lesson: Ray Charles’s Genius + Soul = Jazz was the label’s first hit. Wonder if Henry Butler will have any trouble duping it sans orchestra?
April 20-24, 2011
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 13, 2011