Sunday, April 28, 2013

Jazz under the banyan tree

The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota FL is an outstanding home to wide-ranging plant life, and is renowned for its collections of bromeliads and epiphytes. On Sunday, it was also the site of outstanding jazz by saxophonist Tom Ellison's band Hip Pocket featuring singer June Garber. The concert was part of a Sunday afternoon music series that The Selby presents in the shade of a giant banyan tree on its 13-acre property.

June Garber
Ellison & Co. did a masterful job of blending jazz standards with jazz versions of popular material. The latter included R. Kelly's "You Are Not Alone," John Lennon's "Imagine," Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed," Michael McDonald's "Takin' It to the Street," Amanda McBroom's "The Rose" and the most appropriate "And All That Jazz" from the musical "Chicago."
Tom Ellison

One of the afternoon's finest moments was Garber's poignant take on "And When October Goes," which Barry Manilow crafted into a song from a Johnny Mercer poem. Saluting two of his early jazz influences, Rochester NY native Ellison performed trumpeter Chuck Mangione's "Land of Make Believe" and longtime Mangione saxophonist Gerry Niewood's "Joy."

Ellison has assembled a fine band in Hip Pocket, which includes pianist Matt Bokulic, bassist Don Mopsick and drummer Chuck Parr. Garber is a frequent guest and works extremely well with this group.

The performance concluded the South County Jazz Club's extensive 2012-13 concert offerings. The series included 25 events in Englewood, Sarasota and Venice between late September and late April. Hat's off to club president Morrie Trumble for his tireless work putting it all together.

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