Living Daylights | 12.06.02 | Siskiyou Brew Pub | Ashland, OR

The music of the Living Daylights fills the room with thick scented colors of jazz, pulsating, penetrating my body. It integrates every organic, stale and breathing entity within range into a single flowing wave-creating a living butter churn. I feel as if hot cocoa has seeped into every vein, joint, pore and morsel of my being. The music feels golden. It starts at my toes and travels up, exuding radiance from my chest. My whole body swallows the beat, mid-section folds and breaks into undulating rhythms, independently, as limbs and appendages caress the air all the while. My fingers grab the music and float it around like weighted bubbles.

I've seen the Living Daylights more times than I can recollect, and their music makes sense to me more than anything else in my daily life. Perhaps that reveals a problem in my personal life, but I'm in no mood for self-reflection and choose to acknowledge it as The Daylights' deep, sinuous creation of sound, leaving me full and fluid within my flesh. They are jovial this evening, playing as if the room is full of old friends-which many are. The Siskiyou Brew Pub in Ashland, OR is an intimate, pricey and slightly pompous venue, but the crowd and band are joyful and ready to play.

The trio bursts with talent, experimenting with jazz and connecting their instruments with deep rhythms and a cohesive melding of sounds. They share the music well, taking turns to drive, and pour it through the room-periodically grabbing it, all taking hold at once, twisting, tweaking, rising, squeezing and exploding it into particles jittering through the air.

Jessica Lurie blows deep violet, magenta and blue waves from her saxophone, coursing the music through her entire body. She picks it up from the floor and floats it out. The saxophone has so many knobs and different ways of creating sound between the metal chords and Jessica's strength, length, intervals and partitions of breath-still she seeks more. Her voice screams into the horn's microphone like a hyperactive seal, reaching a higher pitch than possible on the sax. Bubbly angel yelps follow, and through every sound, voice or instrument, she plays with pedals at her feet, expanding the songs. Cowbells, shakers, and tambourines fill the spaces between the brass. Any saxophone fan, or jazz enthusiast, needs to witness the dexterous skill, depths and unique stylings of Jessica Lurie.

I keep turning to Jessica to pay tribute to the rich melodic tunes from her horn, and find her squatting and adjusting levels or hitting a cowbell. I quickly swim myself over to Arne Livingston on the bass and thank him for my embodiment as a worm-my whole self transformed into a tongue, connected, segmented and writhing. His fingers frolic across the sonorous strings of his bass telling a children's story of antelope prancing through a grass-filled, golden meadow. I've never witnessed a bass and saxophone overlap in sounds as much as these two. Looping bass rhythms support the songs, leaving Arne open to tweak poignant interludes as needed.

Dale Fanning, on the drums, seems to be getting more powerful every time I see the band. He is mastering his chosen creative expression and reaching a new level with the drums. It's a good thing he recognizes his power and chose an instrument that can take a beating, though a drumstick or two have been sacrificed as innocent victims (splintered and tossed aside without a flinch) to Dale's resounding beats.

Arne drops the bass to beat on a snare drum for a bit of the last song, high-energy spirals the music like a conch shell to the sky. They step off the small stage and mingle with friends, with no intention of returning to the stage-after almost four hours of playing I understand. The crowd yelps and coaxes; Dale is the first to giggle his way back to their exulted platform.

We have to work for the encore, creating a beat with clapping and a name for the song. Improvisational weavings flow in violent skips across placid waters. Jessica plays the saxophone with her left hand and a tambourine with the right. The tempo rises with Dale's transition into a beat more comfortable for the horn's integration. Drums pitter out and Dale leans back, eyes closed with a beer, enjoying the shimmering, gentle, thick breeze of the saxophone and bass. Lullaby melodies beautifully explore the settled jazz residue of the evening for minutes, then stop.

Reanna Feinberg
JamBase | Oregon
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[Published on: 12/9/02]

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