"My Favorite Things, a Birthday Celebration for John Coltrane" took place last night at The Market 5 Gallery, a community-based art center on Capitol Hill. A quartet called The Brotherhood of Jazz began the informal evening and for the first few numbers had the sort of muffled sound that one hears on records of live sessions from the 1940s. Part of this interesting and somewhat haunting effect was due to a missing mike stand for the saxophonist, but it also derived from the circumstance of four musicians working well together and enjoying the making of good music among friends.
Tenorist Joe Tate, leader of the group, opened "Blue Monk" with a continuous stream solo that initially outlined the melody and then turned it every way but loose, his tone varying from mellow full body to upper-register tart. He set Ellington's "A Train" moving in the swing idiom and before he brought it to a halt had taken it through all the curves and bends of his horn. Tate has his feet in the basics, but his ideas take in everything up to and including modal free wheeling.
Abdul Raheem's guitar provided a chordal backdrop for the horn and in solo became a horn itself. Bassist Ismail Numan was the anchor and got off several brief and meaningful statements as well. Drummer Sharif Abu's soft-shoe brushwork was just right beneath Tate's ballads, but when the drama heightened he brought sticks into play for some thunder-rolling and hail.