Saturday, January 19, 2013

Metz-Parrott-Sportiello - jazz in Sarasota

Sportiello, Parrott, Metz
"Don't be fooled by the name of the band," drummer Eddie Metz Jr. said. "We're really just his monkeys."

Metz got a lot of laughs with that line at last night's Jazz Club of Sarasota concert by what was billed as the Eddie Metz Trio. In reality it was an artful trio of equals, teaming Metz with pianist Rossano Sportiello and bassist/singer Nicki Parrott. Each of them brings powerhouse strengths to the stage.

But Floridian Metz (highly respected for his small group and big band drumming) got top billing because he booked the gig. His touring collaborators are based in New York (via Milan, Italy) and Connecticut (via Australia) respectively.

The "his monkeys" line was a clear salute to Sportiello's command of the keyboard, whether romping through numerous jazz styles or classical pieces at which he also excels. The audience rose for two ovations near the end of the first set after Sportiello segued from "Lucky to be Me"  into a Chopin medley that explored “Nocturne Opus 9 No. 2,” “Fantasie Impromptu” and “Valse Opus 64 No. 1” (the “Minute Waltz”).

It was the highlight of a grand night at Holley Hall that also included a clever and lovely trio medley built from beloved songs from "The Sound of Music" and Parrott's humorous "birds do it, bees do it" contemporary updates to Cole Porter's "Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)." Her singing is engaging and she's a dancer-like, nimble-fingered marvel at the mighty bass.

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