Friday, March 13, 2015

Jazz to hang your hat on

Judi Glover
Judi and Alex Glover worked the cruise ships and the casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City for more than two decades. Eighteen months ago, without any job prospects lined up here, they decided to take a gamble on Florida. They haven't looked back.

For most of those years up north, Alex was in the spotlight as vocalist and leader of Alex Glover & Company, which ranged from small groups to larger ensembles and even a big band. His wife worked out of the limelight as the group's pianist and as a music educator.

In Florida, the tables have turned. Alex sings when opportunities permit, but mostly, he's content to sit back and listen to Judi's marvelous skills at the keyboard. She's been busy from the time they moved from the Atlantic City area to the Gulf Coast, as an occasional leader but more often as a  rhythm section member or as an accompanist. This year, she signed on as the pianist of the highly regarded Naples Jazz Orchestra.

Alex & Judi Glover
Thursday, March 12 brought one of those rare opportunities to hear them working together. They performed in the finale of the South County Jazz Club's 2014-2015 matinee series at the Venice Art Center.

Supported by three standout area players - bassist Don Mopsick, reed player Tom Ellison and drummer Johnny Moore, they explored a wide range of jazz and Great American Songbook staples. They managed to sidestep virtually all of the so-called tired tunes, the standards that have been done ad nauseum.

Glover, Ellison
Favorite moments: the quartet's Latin-tinged take on "Night and Day," and Alex's versions of tunes of long-standing quality that don't seem over done. They included "Nevertheless I'm in Love With You," "A Kiss to Build a Dream On," and the Rosemary Clooney hit "You'll Never Know."

Alex Glover
Alex noted that much of this material dates back 50 or 60 years and passes the test of enduring quality. Then he asked rhetorically if the same could be said down the road for much of what passes today as pop music."In 50 years," he asked the audience, "will anyone be asking to hear anything Beyonce recorded" (in this decade)?  "or Justin Bieber?," Ellison chimed in.

It's a point to ponder.

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