It was the perfect balance between soft and hard. Ask anyone who attended the Jon Faddis Quartet concert at the Sheraton City Centre and they will tell you the soft-spoken Faddis was a wild man on the trumpet.
The wildness, however, was full of control as he hit those soaring high notes and then blew so soft it sounded like a CD mix fade.
With his trusty band bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa, drummer Dion Parson and pianist David Hazeltine Faddis offered as a first set the Lalo Schifrin-penned "Gillespiana."
Schifrin, who hit the mainstream with his "Theme from 'Mission Impossible,'" wrote the five-movement suite, "Gillespiana," for the late Dizzy Gillespie. And while the original was written for a big band, the Faddis Quartet did a fine job taking it to the street.
From the kinetic intro "Prelude" to the "Blues" and the Latin-inspired "Pan American" movements, the band showed their nimble musicality. The progression continued with the moody "Africana" and ended with a rousing crescendo entitled "Tocata."
At times Faddis muted his trumpet and gave the pieces some smokey, back-alley sounds, and at other times, the man belted out some sonic punches that kept the music's dynamics on the upswing.
Parson showed his limb independence with rousing solos, with brushes, sticks and mallets that even had Faddis stop and watch. Keeping the rhythm section tied together was Kitagawa's syncopated finger runs on his stand-up bass.
Showcase after showcase brought the audience to cheers, and Hazeltine's sometimes sublime touches and forthright jams were other highlights of the night.
The second act featured the band taking on tracks from Faddis' most recent CD "Teranga."
"Hey, Lalo!" written for the aforementioned Schifrin and the stalking creeping number "Hunters & Gatherers," which was dedicated to the women in the audience, mesmerized the already enchanted audience.
Hazeltine was spotlighted once again in a little number called "The Baron," which Faddis had written for piano-great Kenny Baron.
And speaking of dedications, the band slipped into "Laurelyn," an upbeat number written for Faddis' wife.
"In the past," Faddis deadpanned during the introduction, "a woman would look at a man to see if he would be a good father. But these days, a woman looks at a man and says, 'I wonder if he can be trained."'
As the show capper, the band whipped into "Teranga," a song about treating the needy as family.With the personable lightheartedness and intense arrangements, the Jon Faddis Quartet found themselves welcomed to Salt Lake City with standing ovation after standing ovation.