First time I heard John Hébert was a Joe Fiedler gig at the Jazz Gallery. The trombonist has a precise trio – check the new Sacred Chrome Orb (Yellow Sound) or his older stuff for proof – and the bassist provided some wonderfully supple maneuvers to keep things on point. Hébert, a dude with Bayou roots, doesn’t just play with Fiedler. He’s one of the most ubiquitous cats around, gigging with a wealth of artists that stretches from Mary Halvorson to Russ Lossing to Ingrid Laubrock to Fred Hersch. Perhaps you haven’t heard his rather persuasive discs, Byzantine Monkey and Spiritual Lover. Try to rectify that, because the way he does business is unique.
From that first night at the Gallery on, I wanted to hear him play solo. I came up under the spell of Fred Hopkins‘ slippery side, and respect the hell out chopsmeisters such as Christian McBride. Something about Hébert conjures a combo of each; he’s a dude who knows how to bend ideas and still have their cogency resound. And as luck would have it, he’s performing alone at one of the city’s most intimate spots this evening. So it’s Sycamore at 8 pm for anyone who wants to hear a rather rare presentation.