After pandemic pauses and a Hurricane Ian-related cancellation last fall, the Charlotte County Jazz Society delivered the fifth edition of its informal matinee concerts on Thursday, February 2 - and it was a gem.
|Len Pierro, Bob Zottola|
Shelton brought an interesting twist, passing up the venue's Yamaha grand piano for his own electric keyboard. He has an unusual technique, playing swinging, beautiful melodies with his right hand while delivering solid bass lines with his left. Close your eyes, and you'd swear there was a string bass player in a dark corner of the stage.
Their material shifted between The Great American Songbook and a bit of Broadway to jazz chestnuts, the latter including Antonio Carlos Jobim's bossa nova classic "Triste." Pierro added his beautiful tenor work to half of them. Zottola also sang on four numbers: "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square," "Bye Bye Blackbird," "I'm Old Fashioned" and a poignant version of Leonard Bernstein's "Some Other Time" from the 1944 musical On The Town.
- Their uptempo version of John Coltrane's minor blues "Mr. P.C.," written in tribute to bassist Paul Chambers, featured Pierro on tenor sax, with Shelton delivering a relentless bass line and a classic B-3 organ sound.
- Alternating notes on their respective horns, Zottola and Pierro teased their way into the melody before turning up the heat on "Stella by Starlight."
- A clever rearrangement of Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way" took the beautiful ballad in new directions.
- An extended exploration of the classic tenor saxophone feature "Body and Soul," which Coleman Hawkins transformed into a jazz standard, showcased Pierro's beautifully laid-back tenor sound. He can swing hard when warranted, but never overplays.
They closed the afternoon with an extended take on "The Theme," one of Miles Davis's classic jazz heads based on the first eight bars of "I Got Rhythm." They rode with great joy over the chord changes, known in the jazz vernacular as "rhythm changes." It was the perfect summation of everything that preceded it.
|Pierro, Zottola, Ruger Shelton|| |