Thursday, January 24, 2013

What a jazz herd

Reynolds, Lamb, Switzer, Hixon
When drummer Al Hixon gets a call to put together a concert band, he settles for nothing less than all-star musicians. Such was the case at Friday's South County Jazz Club matinee at the Venice Art Center.

Bob Switzer, June Garber
Hixon's quartet included former Chicagoan Dick Reynolds (house pianist at Mr. Kelly's in the 1950s), ex-Ellington bassist John Lamb and trumpeter Bob Switzer, who splits his time between San Francisco and Clearwater. And then there were the special guests - singer June Garber (who moved to the area from Toronto last fall), and pianist Stan Hunter.

Stan Hunter, John Lamb
Highlight's: Switzer's solo feature on "My One and Only Love," Lamb's arco cover of The Beatles' hit "Yesterday," Reynolds' ornate version of "Limehouse Blues" and his support of Garber on "All the Way," and Hunter's joyous romp through "How Deep is the Ocean."

 Garber also made an impact with her takes on "Here's to Life," the sassy 1924 Tin Pan Alley song "Hard Hearted Hannah (The Vamp of Savannah)," and her complete version of "Somewhere Over the Rainow." Most singers never bother with the introductory verses. Garber uses the set up to reveal much about the song. She wowed the crowd with it to wind down the first set.

Hixon calls this band his Underheard Herd to showcase musicians who don't get as much attention or notoriety as they deserve.

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