Tuesday, June 25, 2013

An Elgart alumni reunion of sorts, a nod to Shearing - maybe

Lew Gluckin and Len Murphy
Robbie Rose (piano), Dominic Mancini (bass)
Tonight's edition of the South County Jazz Club's weekly jam session at the Ramada Inn's Wave Grill in Venice FL had some interesting twists. These things always do - as the crowd and the music-making attendees vary from week to week
Two alumni of the Les Elgart Orchestra were on hand. Saxophonist Len Murphy and trumpeter Lew Gluckin (on flugelhorn this evening) took separate solo moments with the rhythm section during the opening set. They joined forces to open the second set, mixing it up very nicely on "Blue Monk."

Murphy spent the summer of 1959 with the Elgart Orchestra while he was in college in California. When he realized work as a touring musician would never support his family, he went back to school and then became a full-time music educator, principally in his native Pennsylvania. Gluckin was in the Elgart band in 1961. He later played in a variety of New York-based mainstream jazz bands. Now both men call Southwest Florida home.

Pianist Tommy Goodman provided the evening's unintended George Shearing moment. His solo and comping on "Green Dolphin Street" had the same sort of nimble joy and enthusiasm that were trademarks of the late British pianist. It was a vivid reminder of the Shearing touch.

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