Friday, November 20, 2015

Bud Leeds mixes it up

Leeds, Van Deusen
Clarinetist Bud Leeds always pulls together a band that puts on a good show, you just never know walking in the door what you're going to hear. Such was the case at the South County Jazz Club's November 19 matinee concert at ther Venice FL Art Center.

Bobby van Deusen, a keyboard marvel on the traditional jazz scene, was in town from Pensacola for the gig. He is playing this weekend at the Suncoast Jazz Classic in Clearwater Beach with the Barbary Coast Dixieland Band.

Greg Nielsen
Last year, Leeds played the VAC with van Deusen, bassist Don Mopsick and drummer Tony Martin. This time around, he added multi-instrumentalist Greg Nielsen, who is best known on trombone. For this show, he also performed on trumpet and clarinet.
Bobby van Deusen

Van Deusen was a fixture in New Orleans for many years, working with Pete Fountain, Al Hirt, The Dukes of Dixieland, and on the Delta Queen riverboat. He and Martin performed together regularly on the Delta Queen more than 20 years ago.

The afternoon's repertoire ranged from trad jazz to straight-ahead, a bit of classical music, an unexpected tango number, and even a holiday medley.

Favorite moments: their medley segueing between "Lullaby of the Leaves," "Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise" and "Autumn Leaves"; chops-galore van Deusen's classically tinged romp through "Oh, Lady Be Good" (Leeds introduced it as an "if Bach met Gershwin" moment); and then there were the poignant intermission bookends.

Nielsen, Leeds, Van Deusen
With a nod to the past week's news from Paris, van Deusen poignantly explored John Lennon's peace anthem "Imagine" with subtle bass and drum support. After the break, Leeds and Nielsen, both on clarinet, teamed with the pianist on Sidney Bechet's beautiful "Si Tu Vois Me Mare" (If You See My Mother), which was prominently featured in Woody Allen's 2011 film "Midnight in Paris." Wow.

Leeds, Van Deusen, Mopsick, Nielsen, Martin

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