Saturday, August 11, 2012

Bovi’s Allmark-Maslov double play

Eugene Maslov
Big band jazz has been the Monday night staple been at Bovi’s Tavern for 43 years – and it is still going strong,  Some locals  jazz cognoscenti consider it the musical highlight of their week. The John Allmark Jazz Orchestra has been at Bovi’s in East Providence RI for the past 13 years. The band took the Monday night reins at Bovi’s from the Duke Belaire Orchestra, which had been there for three decades
Needless to say, a Bovi’s stop was mandatory on my trip north for last weekend’s Newport Jazz Festival. And one of the treats was hearing pianist Eugene Maslov, a Russian émigré who has been with the band for four years.

Maslov is an explosive yet artful pianist whose work has been documented on five of his own recordings (one for Brownstone, three for Mack Ave., one for Blue Canoe). I highly recommend 2000’s The Face of Love as a starting point if you’re not familiar with the jazz work by this classically trained artist.
He has settled in as a key part of the rhythm machine (with bassist Bill Miele and drummer Vinny Pagano) that powers this brass-heavy big band. “I like the band. I love the atmosphere. John is a great leader,” he told me.

Maslov is based in central Massachusetts, where he settled with his family, and does the sporadic out-of-town gig when called by his network of friends with whom he worked after coming to the U.S. in 1989. The Allmark gig sounds like his weekly catharsis.

We can thank the Boston Red Sox for playing a big part in the Maslov-Allmark connection four years ago.
Allmark says his regular pianist went on the road with Boz Scaggs, so he lined up a substitute. The sub, an ardent Red Sox fan, backed out when he was given prime seats behind the dugout for a Monday night game. He fired off an email to other area pianists seeking a last-minute substitute. Eugene Maslov was the first responder – and has been there ever since.

“It was a stroke of luck,” Allmark says, “as these things usually are.”

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