Thursday, May 1, 2014

Local jazz gets a mighty fine bonus

Jazz fans at JD's Bistro & Grill in Port Charlotte expecting to hear drummer Patricia Dean's fine trio got an added bonus Thursday night. Jacksonville-based singer Lisa Kelly and trumpeter J.B. Scott sat in during the second and third sets.

Dean, Kelly, Trefethen, Scott, Phillips
The husband-and-wife educators at the University of North Florida  were in the area for two days of guest teaching at the Harrison School of the Arts in Lakeland. Jeff Phillips, a versatile and highly talented pianist who teaches jazz at the magnet high school, is Dean's regular pianist for her weekly JD's gig. He brought Kelly and Scott with him since they had a free evening.

Scott's humor and exuberance come through his horn quite clearly. Kelly's fine vocals were artful whether she was singing a ballad, like "I Only Have Eyes For You" or scatting segments of more uptempo fare.

Dean's band, with Phillips on piano and Dave Trefethen on bass, also had an additional guest for the third set. Dean's husband., trombonist Herb Bruce, joined the fun, capped by a sextet version of "Caravan." Kelly and Scott performed individually and together with the trio, and later, in various permutations with Bruce as well.

The first-set highlight came when the trio explored "How High The Moon." The Great American Songbook staple got a full workout that was anything but standard. At every opportunity, Phillips changed key, texture and style. Dean and Trefethen didn't miss a beat.

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