Every once in a while, a side project comes along that checks off all the boxes: original, entertaining, experimental, dynamic, etc. It’s refreshing to see new acts for the first time, especially when they’ve put in the work behind the scenes to create a distinct sound. When you see them at the right venue, with the right crowd, on the right night, the magic of the music takes over. All of this rings true for The Adam Deitch Quartet, and their performance at the legendary Blue Note New York on Tuesday night.

Led by drummer Adam Deitch, the jazz-fusion quartet brought the crowd into their world for ninety minutes, taking them on an unforgettable journey through sound. First off, the Lettuce horns, saxophonist Ryan Zoidis and trumpeter Benny Bloom, have such remarkable chemistry. This project really gives both of them a chance to shine. Their tight-knit ability to share sonic space obviously comes from years of touring together in Lettuce, but it’s especially cool to see them work together in a smaller band on a smaller stage. Organist Wil Blades, the only non-Lettuce member, is the X-Factor. He provides a plethora of textures for the horns to use as springboards, along with intricate low-end rhythms for Deitch to grab onto and take for a ride.

It was the last of four sets at the intimate club in the West Village. Before they started, Deitch let the audience know, “We’re going to give you guys everything we got”. Well, he definitely didn’t lie. With no set-list set in stone, only a list of songs to choose from, Deitch used the vibe of the room to pick the songs as the night progressed. They ran through a number of tracks off their 2019 release, Egyptian Secrets. “Dot Org” had an undeniable swing that features beautiful layers from Blades.

The title track from the album, “Egyptian Secrets”, really shook the room up. The psychedelic muted trumpet stylings of Bloom cut deep into the mind and soul. Deitch’s drum parts were intrinsically expressive. His percussiveness was primal, tapping into a sense of rhythm that is embedded deep within his DNA. It was one of the standout songs of the night.

The quartet invited jazz guitarist Mark Whitfield on stage for the back half of the set. Deitch commented that he and his bandmates used to listen to the records he played on in their college dorm rooms while studying at Berklee. When you dedicate your life to your passions and put the work in to back them up, life has a funny way of coming full circle.

Whitfield sat in on a few songs from the album, including “Art Bar” and “The Way You Make Me Feel”. John Scofield actually recorded guitar parts on both of these songs, so it was cool to see Whitfield make the songs his own. He was rocking the big body Gibson hollow-body, swinging it around, fingers sprinting up and down the neck with power and grace. It wasn’t hard to tell why Deitch and the rest of the band invited him to sit-in, he’s an absolutely incredible jazz guitarist.

One of the biggest things that stuck out throughout the show was the overall vibe on stage. These cats are such close friends and brothers in music; they were calm and collected the entire time. It’s always cool to see Adam Deitch call shots from the kit with Lettuce, but seeing him light the Blue Note room up behind a small jazz kit is something different. Three out of four of them are getting ready to hit the road hard with Lettuce this year, so who knows when their next shows will be.

In the meantime, go listen to their album, ‘Egyptian Secrets’, on Spotify and other digital streaming platforms. If and when they announce a run of shows in the near future, and you have the chance to see Adam Deitch Quartet, do not miss the opportunity. Click here to stay up to date on any future shows.

Below, watch a fan-shot video of the show.

The Adam Deitch Quartet – 2/4/20

[Video: upful LIFE]