Thursday, July 20, 2017

When less is more

Simplicity can be a breath of fresh air in jazz. One such example occurred on Thursday, July 20 when drummer-singer Patricia Dean performed at the Venice FL: Performing Art's Center's Local Spotlight Festival, an intimate summer lobby series.

Patricia Dean
Dean appeared with bassist Don Mopsick and guitarist Dave Trefethen as "Patricia + 2." Their performance was inspired by singer Sarah Vaughan's classic 1962 recording Sarah + 2 with guitarist Barney Kessel and bassist Joe Comfort.

The slimmed-down format brought simplicity and sensitivity to the material they dug into because none of the musicians got in each other's way. The result often was simultaneously cool and sultry, with Dean offering beautiful vocals and preferring brushes to drumsticks most of the night.
Dean, Mopsick, Trefethen

The material favored the Great American Songbook - with a few pleasant exceptions. There were two Jobim bossa novas ("Once I Loved" and "Corcovado"), Bobby Troup's "Baby, Baby, All The Time," the Etta Jones staple "Don't Go to Strangers" and Dean's cool version of the Kingston Trio hit "Scotch and Soda." Dean also stepped away from her drum kit to update Nancy Wilson's classic take on "Guess Who I Saw Today."

Trefethen had terrific solo spotlights on the Bill Evans ballad "Sometime Ago" and "I'm Old Fashioned." Mopsick was featured on "I'm Confessin' That I Love You" and "Love Was Made for Me and You."

It was quite fitting that Dean included one tune from Sarah Vaughan's classic Sarah + 2 recording. It was "Key Largo," which jazz great Benny Carter wrote for the Humphrey Bogart movie of the same name. This version was wistful and understated, ideal qualities in this context.

The jazz portion of this Venice Institute for the Performing Arts summer series concludes on Friday, August 4 with vibes player Dave Morgan's trio (originally scheduled for August 10).
Patricia Dean, Don Mopsick, Dave Trefethen

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