Thursday, February 4, 2016

Jazz versatility with a bit of a brogue

Paul Duffy
Paul Duffy has had a charmed life as a musician and entrepreneur. He played jazz in his native Ireland, but had to learn to play Irish music when he came to the U.S. in the 1980s. His career also included six years of touring with The Commitments rock band. Until it closed five years ago, he owned the Irish Rover pub, a music mecca in Sarasota. He continues to play music on the southwest Florida's Irish pub circuit.

Duffy has considerable jazz chops, as a singer and multi-instrumentalist. And those chops were in fine form Thursday, February 4, at a South County Jazz Club matinee concert at the Venice Art Center.
Matt Bokulic
Primarily playing a bebop style ontenor sax, Duffy also treated the audience to his trumpet and flute work on select tunes, backed by a mighty fine rhythm section: Matt Bokulic on piano, Joe Porter on bass and David Pruyn on drums. They also backed Duffy in his previous SCJC appearance in October 2013.

Joe Porter
Thursday's highlights included the band's skillful romp through "Autumn Leaves,"  Wayne Shorter's jazz classic "Footprints," and a version of Herbie Hancock's "Cantaloupe Island," on which Duffy traded the melody back and forth seamlessly between sax and trumpet.

He and the band also offered an update of Van Morrison's "Moondance," with Duffy featured on flute, vocals and a bit of scatting, and a blues take  on "Teach Me Tonight." With a romantic holiday just around the corner, they finished the show with "My Funny Valentine" - but played it as a high-energy samba.

David Pruyn
Duffy got his start as a musician in a family circus band in Ireland where, among other things, while he walked a tightrope while playing the sax. Jazz still provides him an interesting tightrope, with the rhythm section acting as the net. He never fell off the rope, but they were in synch with him all afternoon.
Bokulic, Porter, Duffy, Pruyn

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