Friday, April 20, 2018

Solo piano artistry - and then some

Pianist Bobby van Deusen is a master of the keyboard, blessed with an astonishing musical range in terms of genres, sound dynamics and sheer artistry. And those elements were all on display on Friday, April 20 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice.

The Philadelphia native, now based in the Florida Panhandle, is best known for his work in the ragtime, stride and Dixieland genres. But his reach goes much deeper and wider.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Celebrating the gypsy jazz legacy

Keven Aland
Violinist Keven Aland's Hot Club of SRQ brought its fascinating update of the gypsy jazz tradition to the Venice Art Center on Thursday, April 12, in a concert co-produced by the South County Jazz Club.

Jim Snyder
The program built on the Hot Club of France tradition, drawing much material from gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and his disciples. Reinhardt co-led the Hot Club of France Quintet with French violinist Stephane Grappelli, starting in 1934.

For this performance, the Hot Club of SRQ was also a quintet, with Aland, guitarists Nikola Baltic and Jon McLaughlin, bassist Glenn Stephenson and clarinetist Jim Snyder. On every tune, Baltic and McLaughlin shifted with ease between melodic solos and rhythm guitar duties.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Superb music and whimsy combine for a memorable CCJS season finale

Herb Bruce
Trombonist Herb Bruce's repeat visit to the Charlotte County Jazz Society's concert series with his Herbicide Jazz Band was a night of uncontrolled exuberance. Sometimes it was in the music. More often, it was the self-deprecating humor of Bruce and his merry music makers on Monday, April 9's Dixieland Jazz Night.

Herbicide presented excellent music - not always in the traditional Dixieland style. There were some crowd-pleasing vintage set pieces, some new things - including a new face in the area, some borrowed thing and some blue(s). And it all worked seamlessly.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Honoring and updating a classic saxophone sound and spirit

Harry Allen
Bandleader Woody Herman's Second Herd in the late 1940s featured a stunning saxophone section known as the Four Brothers. It featured tenormen Stan Getz, Zoot Sims and Herbie Steward, plus baritone saxophonist Serge Chaloff. The sound was swinging and vibrant as the four players dug into crisp unison lines and took turns passing solos to one another much like relay runners hand off the baton.

Seventy years after the Four Brothers made their mark on big band jazz, Harry Allen is having great fun keeping the format and its spirit alive. In October 2016, he recorded a Four-Brothers-style project, The Candymen (Arbors) with his All Star New York Saxophone Band. Allen made the recording with tenorists Eric Alexander and Grant Stewart and baritone player Gary Smulyan. 
Richard Drexler

Allen brought that sound and energy to Hillsborough Community College's Ybor City campus on Sunday, April 7 for a Tampa Jazz Club concert billed as The Four Others. It teamed Allen with fellow tenorists Lew Del Gatto and Jeff Rupert, as well as baritone saxophonist Saul Dautch. Pianist Richard Drexler, bassist Don Mopsick and drummer Eddie Metz Jr. were the afternoon's ace rhythm section.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The future of jazz is in good hands


Brett Williams, Brandon Goldberg
Miami-area pianist Brandon Goldberg has soaked up jazz like a sponge takes on water. And he’s been doing so for more than half of his 12 years. He’s a normal kid, polite, poised and eager to learn at every opportunity. Those traits serve him well. That he found his way to jazz – and loves it – is something quite remarkable given the wide variety of musical genres bombarding his peer group.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

A sultry celebration of Jobim, mostly

Nate Najar
The Bossa Nova All Stars put their stamp on the sultry sound of Brazil's most popular musical export on Saturday, March 31 in Venice FL, where they focused almost entirely on the extensive songbook of composer Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Jobim was one of the pioneers of bossa nova, a late 1950s fusion of the Brazilian samba and jazz. His contributions to the art form were mighty and are best known. The focus wasn't really surprising, considering that the singer featured in this program, Brazilian native Maucha Adnet, worked with Jobim for the final decade of his career. The band assembled by guitarist Nate Najar also included tenor saxophonist Harry Allen, vibes player Chuck Redd, bassist Tommy Cecil, and drummer Matt Home.