A Night of Jazz in Connecticut: Steven Husted and The Low Initiative/Sean Clapis

Steve Husted and the Low-End Initiative
Sean Clapis
The Outer Space, Hamden, CT
May 5th, 2012

A very rare thing for me is to go to jazz concerts, simply because I am so caught up in new classical music and rock that I sometimes forget jazz is happening, but this night certainly reminded me that it’s alive, kicking, and ripe for listening when you’re ready for it!

Hamden, CT’s The Outer Space, sister to The Space, was the venue for this evening of both classic and fusion-based jazz. In an area that is mostly coveted by cover bands and sports-like dives, both Spaces are, and have been, wonderful venues for original music from artists and bands both from CT and outside the area, and it was certainly a good place on this night to check out extraordinary performances by a couple of local virtuosos.

Queens-area bassist Steve Husted and his band The Low Initiavtive were the highlight of the evening, but before they took the stage, guitarist Sean Clapis and a small ad-hoc combo of two played a smoking set of classic bebop-oriented tunes comprised of some originals as well as a few older standards. Clapis, a Hartt School graduate, was amazing, and his guitar sound was reminiscent of Wes Montgomery as he and his small combo of bass and drums (played exquisitely by his bandmates; his drummer on this night was a lady that had chops I rarely see in person) provided sort of a laid-back, yet progressive bebop set.

When Husted and his group came on, they proceeded to give a whole ‘nother side of jazz and actively brought us to a later period of a more fusion-oriented sound. The 90-minute set consisted mostly of songs from their latest release Views From The Event Horizon, and Husted’s band had such a good rough-sounding funk combination of bass, guitar and electric piano that reminded me heavily at times of Bitches Brew, and it made me pine for the possibility of them actually playing that album’s title piece in all its 26-minute glory (The only thing missing from this band if they did that is a trumpet player).
Songs like “Cebrez”, “Frustration”, and a song for his wife “Kitty Kat Boogie” were all sweetly rendered, and Husted played at times like a man possessed, as if Jaco Pastorius set up shop inside his soul.
They wrapped up the evening with a wonderful ballad titled “Will I Ever See You Again?”, to which I responded “I hope so!”.

Steven Husted and the Low Initiative
Their Reverbnation page

Sean Clapis.com
Sean Clapis’ official page

Robert Black – Bass (via My Ears Are Open)

By James Holt courtesy of My Ears Are Open

“My name is Robert Black and I play Double Bass. One of my main musical outlets is the Bang on a Can All-Stars and I’ve been a member of that group since it began, some 18 years ago. And then I also do a lot of solo recitals of all kinds of contemporary bass music and I teach at the Hartt School in Hartford, CT, I teach at the Manhattan School of Music Contemporary Performance Program, and I’m a regular at a summer school in Brazil every July.”

Robert Black – Bass (My Ears Are Open; podcast)