By Andrew Gilbert
Ian Dogole has a knack for assembling singular, talent-laden bands. A percussionist with a global vision and a truckload of instruments from far-flung lands, he’s turned his attention to the vast and wondrous world of Wayne Shorter, the saxophonist and composer who has shaped jazz ever since joining Art Blakey’s Jazz Messenger in the late 1950s.
The Marin-based Dogole presents his Shorter Moments project Friday at the Hillside Club, introducing a quintet featuring rhythmically supple bassist Dan Feiszli, supremely versatile pianist Frank Martin, and inventive reed players Dave Tidball and Mike Zilber.
Supported by a grant from San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, Shorter Moments encompasses the saxophonist’s entire career, from his early recordings for VeeJay and his epochal run with Miles Davis in the mid-1960s through his hugely influential Blue Note albums and Weather Report, the trailblazing fusion supergroup he founded with Joe Zawinul in 1970.
While Shorter Moments is a new project for Dogole, the instrumentation is reminiscent of his world jazz quintet Hemispheres, a band that also featured bass, two reed masters and Frank Martin. The pianist was the last member to join the group, but immediately proved fluent in Dogole’s borderless postbop vocabulary.
As a sideman, Martin has worked with jazz’s finest improvisers, including Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin and Dizzy Gillespie. And through his relationship with the Grammy-bedecked producer Narada Michael Waldon he’s played on recording sessions with everyone from Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and Ray Charles to Sting, James Taylor and Madonna.
“Frank is a powerhouse, a virtuoso, a master improviser, and a great arranger,” Dogole says. “He brought the open mindedness, the adventurous nature that’s so much in synch with the rest of us.”
Immersed in a multiplicity of global rhythmic currents, Dogole performs on a dazzling menagerie of instruments, including Nigerian clay pot (udu), Peruvian box drum (cajon), Middle Eastern goblet drum (dumbek), African thumb piano (kalimba), Swiss steel pan hand drum (hang), and a trap drum set of his own creation played with the usual implements (sticks, mallets and brushes). In other words, he’s ideally prepared to investigate the music of Wayne Shorter, an ingenious composer whose slippery melodies and mysterious harmonies continue to fascinate musicians around the world.
Andrew Gilbert lives in west Berkeley and covers music and dance for the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe and East Bay Express.