Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Jazz from Naples hits Port Charlotte

"Sir John" Jeffrey
Monday night was Naples Night at the Charlotte Cultural Center as the Charlotte County Jazz Society wound down its 2012-13 concert season in strong fashion. The double bill featured two small groups that made the 70-mile trek north from Naples.

Vibes player "Sir John" Jeffrey's Sir John Trio provided its brand of chamber jazz, with a sound comparing favorably to the late Red Norvo's groups. Chicago native Jeffrey, who has called Florida home for more than 40 years, went a bit more uptempo on the rousing closer, "Cherokee." Bassist Dan Heck and singer-guitarist Rick Howard provided empathetic support throughout the set.

Bob Zottola
Trumpeter Bob Zottola's quartet was also excellent, featuring Stu Shelton on piano, Kevin Mauldin on bass and James Martin on the most pared-down drum kit you'll ever see. He travels with just a baby bass drum, a snare, a hi-hat and two ride cymbals, but what he does with them is a marvel to watch. Mauldin's "day job" is principal bassist with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra but he is equally versed in jazz.

Zottola, an ex-New Yorker who spent 19 years in the Les Miserables pit band on Broadway, is an excellent hornman and an enjoyable singer. The evening's finest treat was the band's take on Sidney Bechet's 1950s ballad, "Si Tu Vois Ma Mรจre," which was featured prominently in Woody Allen's 2011 film Midnight in Paris.
Sir John Trio
Bob Zottola Quartet

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