Scott Yanow // L.A. Jazz Scene (mai 2021)

One of my regular musical thrills of the 1980s and ‘90s was seeing pianist Horace Tapscott and bassist Roberto Miranda (often with drummer Donald Dean and later Fritz Wise) performing as a trio in L.A. area clubs. Tapscott was one of the true originals on piano and Miranda (who was always very inventive) was his perfect musical partner. It was always a shame that they did not have many opportunities to record together.

Live At Bing Theatre could have been titled The Los Angeles All-Stars. Not only does it include Miranda and Tapscott but cornetist Bobby Bradford (doubling on trumpet), clarinetist John Carter, and flutist James Newton plus Thom David Mason (on alto, tenor and bass clarinet), drummer Louis R. Miranda Jr (Roberto’s brother), guitarist David Bottenbley (Roberto’s cousin) and percussionists Buddy Toscano, Cliff Brooks and Louis R. Miranda Sr. (Roberto’s father who also sings wordlessly during parts of the closing “Dance Of Blessing, Happiness & Peace”). While Bradford and Carter often shared the bandstand through the years and Tapscott recorded with Carter, this was the first (and possibly only) time that Tapscott, Bradford, Carter and Newton all performed together.

From May 25, 1985, the musicians in various combinations perform a set of the bassist’s originals. “Platform For Freedom” puts the spotlight on Tapscott and drummer

Miranda while the adventurous ballad “Faith” features Newton. “Agony In the Garden” has Newton playing passionately over a vamp that has the percussion section sounding quite prominent. Bradford makes majestic statements opening and closing “Prayer #1”and the other musicians all get their spots along the way. Roberto Miranda is mostly in a supportive role except for his “Improvised Bass Solo” which gives one a taste of his unique playing.

This well-recorded concert brings back the atmosphere of a concert filled with spiritual feelings, adventurous playing, and joyful interactions by immortal Los Angeles-based players.


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