Miles of freedom found in jazz
Austin jazz trumpeter Jeff Lofton knows from his Miles Davis. Last year, Lofton wrapped up work on "1950s Miles Davis Tribute," a project he and his band had been working on for several years, and moved on to the next project.
Lofton expanded his band, dubbed it the Jeff Lofton Electric Thang, and began working on interpretations of Davis' electric period. Saturday is a CD release party for Lofton's new album, "Chasing the Voodoo Down: Live at the Cactus Cafe," recorded with Tony Bray on saxophone, Darin Layne on guitar, Austin Kimble on piano, Chris Jones on bass and Jason McKenzie on drums and tabla. (For those looking to contribute, Lofton is running a Kickstarter campaign online to defray costs of recording the record.)
"When I did the original 1950s show, I had in mind a series," Lofton says. "But it really took a long time to get the right combination of musicians together who were willing to do this for the money we would get at the door." The band plays a combination of Davis' music and fusion originals.
Austin is more of a rock and country town than a jazz town, something Lofton hopes "Chasing" will address. "I'm always looking for ways to expand the influence of jazz on the scene," Lofton says; Davis' fusion period folded rock and R&B into jazz frameworks. It meant a different way of working than Lofton used on the 1950s material.
"With this much freedom in the music, it can really turn into anything," Lofton says. "You want to have a structure without trying to have one. And this music is really fun to play, and the audience really responds to it."
'Chasing the Voodoo Down: Live at the Cactus Cafe'
What: CD release with Jeff Lofton Electric Thang
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, May 14
Where: The Cactus Cafe, 24th and Guadalupe streets on the University of Texas campus (in the Texas Union Building)
Correction: This story was updated to reflect the correct day for the CD release party.