James "Saxsmo" Gates Quartet | Beyu Caffe | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week
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James "Saxsmo" Gates Quartet 

When: Sat., March 14, 8 & 10 p.m. 2015
Price: $15

It's hard to take smooth jazz seriously, especially if you can't shake the image of Kenny G's perm when you hear it. But Richmond native James "Saxsmo" Gates pulls it back from the brink of fatal cheesiness. The three-time Grammy-nominated saxophonist, who's touring behind the new Gates Wide Open, cuts notes with harder funk edges and fits big band heads onto songs. His band builds thick fusion undercurrents so that he can solo overtop. It's all classic jazz underneath, somehow, just exponentially casual. Gates, who received a masters in Jazz Studies from North Carolina Central's fecund program, brings his diverse vocabulary back to Durham for two sets. —Chris Vitiello

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