It's unlikely the jazz fans at the Hilton last night would have left their seats in the Hotel Ballroom for seats at the Delta Center to see the town's "other" Jazz.
The Jeremy Davenport quartet was on hand - as he was last year - to take part in the "Jazz at the Hilton" series, and as expected he put on quite a show. Helping Davenport on the smallish stage was Glenn Patscha on piano, David Pulphus on bass and Geoff Clapp on drums, and each of them proved a worthy musician.Introduced as an "enormous young talent," Davenport lived up to his billing but broke one of his rules as soon as he was in the spotlight. With the urging of his bandmates, he took the microphone in hand.
"I never talk before I play," he said. "But my sister is in from Seattle, and I have friends from St. Louis. I am nervous."
The trumpeter started with a work he finished writing just last week called "For Pete's Sake," which gave the musicians no time to warm up at all. The briskly paced number dove into the depths of New Orleans-style jazz.
When Davenport wasn't blowing his own horn, he was smart enough to move away from the front of his stage and let the audience get a better view of his band mates.
Despite his claims of nervousness, he seemed completely relaxed as if he were having fun. His casual manner translated to fun for him and fun for the crowd. His attitude translated well to those in the ballroom, which might be a sign of growing performance maturity or perhaps a familiarity with the Salt Lake crowd.
Davenport repeated the romantic "I Thought About You," from his previous visit. He dropped his instrument in favor of his voice and sang the old-style lyrics, which he said he loves. Next came a tune he wrote "way back in 1995," called "A Second Chance," definitely in the same romantic vein.
The lyrics, about a lucky second-chance meeting of a stranger, were gentle and entertaining, while the music was impressive and improvisational.
Combined humor and excellent musicianship on songs such as "Beautiful Friendship" made the evening completely enjoyable, while "Joey Jones and the Temple of Doom" added variety.
Also performing was a group of high school students gathered from around the state called Jam High School Superband. They played three numbers to open the show and another pair after intermission. One student received a slight electric shock but was fine and finished his number.
As a teaser for next season's series, the Jazz at the Hilton announced it is trying to bring in such names as Chic Correa, Gary Burton and Wynton Marsalis.