Kollage is fronted by two Toronto veterans, drummer Archie Alleyne and tenor saxophonist Doug Richardson, who both look I'd say, a good couple of decades younger than they are. I've been watching these guys play for years and they seem to get younger and more enthusiastic with every passing year. Is there some fountain of youth connected to hard bop? That said, Doug Richardson needs to buy a shirt with sleeves. Seriously. I don't want to look at his biceps anymore.

This was a free lunchtime concert at Nathan Phillips, which I was particularly happy to attend because I had taken a half day at the office. Huzzah! Freedom to enjoy both sets and sip my diet coke leisurely. Initially, my experience was marred because of a stressful cell phone / horn section related incident right at the top of the show. Sometimes it's hard to leave the work day behind, even if you're running from it. Running as fast as you can, with all the skill that 8 weeks at the beginners level of the Running Room and a lifetime of running for nothing other than buses gives you. Which is to say not very effectively. At all.

At any rate, I settled in and enjoyed both sets. It's always great to hear the tunes that they play from the songbooks of Horace Silver, Donald Byrd, Dexter Gordon and Hank Mobley. Kollage brings an authenticity to the Hard Bop sound that is really exciting. I'm less excited by the original tunes that creep in, but that's really just a matter of personal taste, I think. They're fine, but when you could be hearing guys that play so expertly doing Horace Silver, truthfully, that's what I'd rather hear.

What I found off putting was Archie Alleyne's insistence on mentioning over and over again how they only play authentic hard bop. "None of that other stuff that the kids are messing with", which was a direct hit at Roy Hargrove who played there the night before. Think, for a moment about the roots of hard bop and the fact that it was created by younger musicians in an attempt to extend the form and make it more accessible and popular. Der!

In fact, his whole tone was so negative throughout the afternoon that it really started to affect my enjoyment of the music. Kollage has been turned down at the Montreal Jazz Fest so many times, they just stopped submitting for a spot! Kids today don't understand what "real" jazz is! And on and on and blah, blah, blah. I've decided to chalk it up to the fact that it was damn hot in that tent (and worlds hotter on the bandstand). I like Archie, and he's a great player, I just wish he'd turn in his jazz police badge and prove how great and how important hard bop is to the genre in the best way possible, by playing the hell out of the tunes.

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