Saturday, January 21, 2017

A jazzy way to end the day

Eddie Metz Jr.
Drummer Eddie Metz Jr. brought his mighty International Trio plus tenor saxophonist Harry Allen to Sarasota FL to provide a musical balm to Inauguration Day on Thursday, January 20.

"We're glad your here rather than at home cheering or yelling at the TV," Metz said at the outset. "We don't care what side you're on -- because this is the universal language of music."

Nikki Parrott
Rossano Sportiello
This trio truly is international in scope, teaming American Metz with Australian bassist-singer Nicki Parrott and Italian piano marvel Rossano Sportiello. Allen flew in from New York on Thursday for this Jazz Club of Sarasota appearance at the Riverview High School Performing Arts Center.

It was a night that stretched back and forth from delicate ballads to hard-driving blues, and Parrott contributing vocals on five tunes, two of them from unexpected sources for a jazz gig. They were "There's a Kind of Hush (All Over the World)", a 1967 hit for Herman's Hermits and a 1976 remake hit for The Carpenters, plus "The Rainbow Connection" from 1979's The Muppets Movie.

Harry Allen
Allen's tenor work is always top-notch. On this evening he brought a friskier side of his playing - as well as a lovely original called "A Silver Rain." Allen said he's been collaborating with singer-pianist Judy Carmichael, he writing the music and she writing the lyrics for fresh material. This ballad is one of them, though it has not yet  been recorded. Allen's tenor work and Sportiello's delicate extended solo were among the night's highlights.

Sportiello also shared some of his formidable stride piano technique on several tunes. 

The Metz-Parrott-Sportiello trio has been touring regularly for more than a decade. They bring something fresh to every visit, combining all-star-level chops and personalities that mesh with each other - and their audiences. Once again, well done.
Rossano Sportiello, Harry Allen, Nikki Parrott, Eddie Metz Jr.

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