published June 03, 2013 | posted by detroit
The Planet D Nonet from Detroit made its first Louisville appearance on Friday, April 19 at the Nachbar. "PD9" is unusual in that its musical vision ranges from early swing through Sun Ra, with side trips into jump blues. The band has released several albums and EPs since forming in 2007, the most recent being Swingin' the D, on Detroit Music Factory (www.detroitmusicfactory.com). The Nachbar was full, with a mostly younger crowd digging such chestnuts as "Do Nothing till You Hear from Me," with Satchmo-styled vocalizing by trumpet player and co-leader James O'Donnell. More Ellingtonia was next, with a movement from "Such Sweet Thunder." The first set ended with the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian classic "Tootie Ma Is a Big Fine Thing," featuring co-leader RJ Spangler's march cadences together with singing and second-lining by trombonist John "T-Bone" Paxton The second set focused on the band's interpretations of pieces from the Arkestra, including "That's How I Feel" and "Where Pathways Meet" from 1978's Lanquidity. They followed with the classic "Fate in a Pleasant Mood' and "Call for All Demons, which is on the latest PD9 CD and, in concert, featured a long, blues-drenched guitar solo from Ralph Tope. All joined the chant on "They'll Come Back," with typically sci-fi lyrics from Mr. Ra: "They'll come back in ships of gold/ With wisdom never told/ A touch of myth-world's splendor/ Then they'll take back the others/ Who are not of earth's dimension . . . ." And how to follow that? Why, of course, with Louis Jordan's "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby," and a hard-driving "Things Ain't What They Used To Be." I was delighted by the unstated yet clear (to me at least) interconnection between the traditional forms of jazz and the avant-garde, held together by the top-notch musicianship of this band. The PD9 back catalogue is available at www.cdbaby.com/artist/PlanetDNonet, and a collaboration with John Sinclair at www.cdbaby.com/cd/johnsinclair2.