The last Loft Jazz Festival commemorates the closing of d.c. space's upstairs performance loft, which will become an art gallery as the music moves to the downstairs cafe. In the great tradition of the loft, last night's show started late, drew a small crowd and presented superb jazz. Solo saxophonist Jim Sivard and the Hands Trio played original jazz pieces that were melodically rich and texturally subtle.
Sivard played three pieces on soprano sax and one on tenor. Each piece began with an eccentric but captivating theme. That theme was then refracted through different meters and modulations broken up by purposeful pauses. Though his deliberate attempt to mix audible breath with notes didn't work, he did manage to turn up many facts without ever losing the melody.
Pianist Frank Kimbrough of the Hands Trio also composes compelling themes, but he attacked his themes more aggressively than Sivard. Kimbrough thrusted at them again and again, each time from a different angle. These thrusts were given convincing weight by bassist Lyles West and drummer Rich Rosenzweig, who adjusted their rhythmic texture to Kimbrough's angles of attack.
The Loft Jazz Festival concludes tonight with performances by Frank Kimbrough, Tim Chambers and Yah Ya.