Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Swinging effortlessly into a new concert season

It was most appropriate that clarinetist Allan Vaché began the Charlotte County Jazz Society's 2019-2020 concert season opener with the chestnut "Just Friends." He was back for his fourth CCJS appearance, and his first Port Charlotte visit since 2014. And he brought four close musical friends: his current Orlando-based rhythm section plus ace trumpeter Charlie Bertini.
Allan Vaché

The Monday, October 14 event teamed the Jim Cullum Jazz Band alumnus with Bertini, pianist Mark McKee, bassist Charlie Silva and drummer Walt Hubbard. While Bertini and Silva are no strangers to the CCJS stage, this was the first local appearance for Hubbard and McKee. 

The evening featured several Vaché concert staples with other jazz and Great American Songbook fare. It included material from the Duke Ellington repertoire, a bit of movie music, some Gershwin and Hoagy Carmichael, and a brief foray into vintage New Orleans. One concert staple, also performed in Vaché's Port Charlotte appearances in 2011 and 2014, was Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Look to the Sky." Because it is heard so infrequently, these days, Vaché does a great service by sharing this gentle bossa nova.
Charlie Bertini

Vaché's lively, wide-ranging clarinet artistry was featured on Rodgers and Hammerstein's "It Might as Well Be Spring" from the 1945 film "State Fair," which made sense. It's included on his latest recording, It Might as Well Be Swing (Arbors Jazz, 2018), teamed him with the same rhythm section.

Mark McKee

On "Tangerine" and "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans" Bertini and Vaché showed what terrific musical foils they are. They played exquisite unison melodies but also delivered solos that built on each other's ideas.

It was clear this night that for Vaché, every tune is a musical adventure unto itself. That spirit lets him spotlight each member of the band several times during a concert. In that regard, he is a most democratic bandleader.

Charlie Silva
Shifting to flugelhorn, Bertini shared a stunning version of the Carmichael ballad "The Nearness of You." Silva took spotlight honors on the early standard "Comes Love" before he and Vaché traded bass and clarinet phrases to close it out. The rhythm section dug into "Some Day My Prince Will Come." Hubbard was featured on two Ellington-associated tunes, Juan Tizol's "Perdido" and "Caravan," the concert closer.
Walt Hubbard

Together, Vaché's quintet delivered a fine evening of effortless swing. 

The concert drew an early season crowd of more than 250 to the Cultural Center of Charlotte County's William H. Wakeman III Theater in Port Charlotte, FL.

McKee, Vaché, Bertini, Silva, Hubbard

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