Sonny Stitt demonstrated the awesome command of his instruments, tenor and also sax, as local jazz artists were showcased yesterday in the first annual GWU Cherry Blossom Jazz Festival. Stitt likes nothing better than a cutting contest and this ensued whenhe and tenorist Buck Hill locked horns on a steaming "shell Game" and Bird's "Au Trivave."
Mike Crotty's Sunday Morning Jazz Band proved itself worthy of its reputation as the leading large jazz orchestra of the area. Especially notable were Bill Kirchener's soprano sax feature on "Chalet Co-Win," guitarist Wiley Porter's interpretation of Iles Davis's "So What" and vocalist Toni Wilson's "Shiny Stockings".
Pianist Marc Cohen, in a quartet format, displayed his strentghs as a soloist on his own composition "Swing No. 3" and as a accompanist to Kenny Reed's flugehorn feature,"You Know I Care." On that instrument and on trumpet Reed demonstrated his familiarity with the tradition and something else as well: If one can detect suggestions of the masters in his playing it is beacause he has incorporated them into his own language.
The GWU Jazz Band opened the afternoon with its last public appearance, closing its set with "One's Company, Two's a Chord," featuring Jeff Leddes on trumpet. Natural Bridge, an electronic fusion foursome, offered its jazz extension; their contribution was well-received by the audience, especially the feverish "Free Sample."