Thursday, August 8, 2013

A great jazz night - with a fine surprise

John Allmark
Bovi'sTavern is Rhode Island's home for big band jazz on Monday nights. Well, on most Monday nights. This past Monday, the bandleader threw us a pleasant curve.

Rather than bring his full jazz orchestra, John Allmark presented his octet - a brass-rich unit reminiscent of Phil Woods' Little Big Band.

The unit consisted of Allmark and Doug Olsen on trumpet and flugelhorn, Pete Fanelli on trombone,  Bill Vint on tenor sax and Bob Bowlby, who doubled on alto and baritone saxes, plus pianist Eugene Maslov, bassist Bill Miele and drummer Vinny Pagago. All are John Allmark Jazz Orchestra regulars.

Maslov, Olsen, Allmark, Fanelli, Vint, Bowlby
First set highlights included their explorations of Horace Silver's "I Want You," Freddie Hubbard's "Povo," "Milestones" from the Miles Davis songbook, and a wild romp through Juan Tizol's "Caravan," a Duke Ellington' Orchestra staple.

The unit played with a big band sensibility, but the smaller size let each player stretch out more and take more solos than they'd get on a typical Monday night. It was a fine surprise -- in the vein that a jazz night most often is a bit different than you anticipate when walking in the door. Tat's part of its charm. 

The big band will be back next Monday night at Bovi's, located at Six Corners in East Providence. The band hits at 9 p.m. If you're ever in the area on a Monday, don't miss it.

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