Austin-based jazz trumpeter Jeff Lofton performs at Temple’s Cultural Activities Center this Saturday as part of the center’s Jazz & Blues series. In a program billed as a 1950s Miles Davis tribute, the set list will encompass the more accessible, audience-friendly compositions and tunes associated with the jazz icon.
Lofton, 46, a South Carolina transplant, said the show has been developed over the past six years. “Temple will be the fourth city in Texas I’ve played with the 1950s Miles concert. I’ve also performed it in New York at Iridium.”
The repertoire for Saturday’s gig has been chosen from the more melodic and less controversial music that Davis recorded. “I’m going from the Prestige (record company) years to the early Columbia years,” Lofton said, sidestepping the later fusion/rock ’n’ roll projects that had many fans and critics of Davis scratching their heads.
“I’ll have a quintet onstage,” Lofton said, and his tenor saxophonist will have big shoes to fill, since some of the greatest sax players in jazz history performed with Davis. The audience can expect closely-miked Harmon muted trumpet solos in addition to open-horn sounds.
Besides the Miles Davis tribute, Lofton also fronts a band called Electric Thang that plays “jazz-funk, rock fusion of the ’70s and ’80s.” His CD “Jazz To The People” made the top album lists for the Austin Chronicle and radio station KUT. His latest CD, “Jericho,” is scheduled for release later this year.
Asked if he channelled Davis’ infamous onstage behavior — the trumpeter was notorious for his disdain of audiences — Lofton claimed his impersonation doesn’t go that far. “I do some communication,” he said. “I’ll play two 45-minute sets and be around afterward — I’ve got some merch to sell.”