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Tim Mayer! Jazz woodwind specialist & educator from Boston, Massachusetts

October 7, 2010

5LMN2 – Los Cinco Elementos

Tim Mayer, saxophones
Kevin Harris, piano
Gabo Lugo, conguero

Keala Kaumeheiwa, bass

David Rivera, drums

This group is a vehicle for exploring the deeper areas of the traditions of Jazz and Afro-Cuban music.

At one end of the tree, Conguero Gregorio Bento’s roots in Cuban rumba extend to Santeria and Bat├í, which are the traditions brought from Africa to Cuba, and are the fuel for the spiritual fire present in the ceremonies held by practitioners dressed all in white. The rhythms drive the dancers to enter a trance, which invites the Orishas, or Saints, to posess the body of the dancer.

On the other end, my roots as a saxophonist extend to the point where spirit meets music. One of the seminal figures in this pursuit was John Coltrane, who extended the boundaries of Jazz to include African Middle Eastern and Asian spirituality and tonality.

The repertoire of this group is populated by the seldom heard and even more seldom recreated compositions of Monk, Coltrane, and others, including “Work,” “Brilliant Corners,” “Friday the 13th,” by Monk; and “Lonnie’s Lament,” “A Love Supreme” (the complete 4 movement suite) by Coltrane.

Press for 5LMN2

From “Three Nights” by Jon Garelick/Boston Phoenix:

At Ryles on Saturday July 7, saxophonist Tim Mayer fronted 5LMN2, an outfit that had its inception at Wally’s in 1993 and has been around in one form or another ever since. The 5LMN2 agenda has been Afro-Latin jazz or standard jazz played in Latin arrangements. (The name, if you read it in Spanish, comes out as the five elements.) In the middle set of three at Ryles, the band mixed it up with Cedar Walton’s ├óÔéČ┼ôBolivia, Monk’s Evidence, Joe Henderson’s Serenity and Inner Urge,┬Ł and Puerto Rican composer Pedro Flores’s standard Obsesi├│n.

The Monk expert Steve Lacy once described all of Monk’s tunes as dances, so it was no surprise to see the band make the most of the displaced accents of Evidence┬Ł with the 3-2 clave beat. Pianist Marcello Casagrandi emphasized rhythmic chording throughout the set, and he was so inventive in his change-ups that for a brief moment in hisBolivia┬Ł solo he even threw off the otherwise imperturbable rhythm team of drummer Pablo Pe├▒a and conguero Paolo Stagnaro (son of Boston bassist Oscar). In the first couple of tunes, the details of Mayer’s tenor playing got buried in the heavy rhythmic mix (Fernando Huergo played electric bass), so it was good to hear him slice through on alto in Evidence.┬Ł But he really came to the fore on Joe Henderson’s Inner Urge,┬Ł clapping off the clave rhythm until piano came in with a repeating staccato cross-rhythm, then bass, then percussion, then finally tenor. Casagrandi built up to a staccato climax in his solo and then Mayer entered, slower and with lighter percussion underneath him, mixing up his phrasing, alternating short-phrased groupings and arpeggiated runs, reveling in a fat lower register that hadn’t been evident in the first couple of tunes, taking his time. It was beautiful. He was equally relaxed on the slow cha-cha-cha of Obsesi├│n┬Ł and on Serenity,┬Ł which was a light rumba. There was plenty of abstraction in all of these, and plenty of rhythmic hurly-burly, but at their best, the band (who play Wally’s every Thursday night) reminded you why Afro-Latin jazz is so popular: they’re all dances, and the dance beat will draw you in no matter how far out the band take everything else.

Read Mr. Garelick’s entire article at The Phoenix website.

Download as a PDF: Jon Garelick – Boston Phoenix Article

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