Monday, January 20, 2020

Metz-Parrott-Sportiello dig into the jazz canon - and popular songbook

Eddie Metz Jr.
The International Trio swings with immense joy, humor, mega-talent and professionalism wherever they play. Any road weariness - or even jet-lag - is left behind once its members hit the stage.

That was clear on Sunday, January 19, when drummer Eddie Metz Jr., bassist and singer Nicki Parrott, and pianist Rossano Sportiello concluded their week-long Florida tour with a matinee concert at the Glenridge Performing Arts Center in Sarasota.

They'd brought 130 CDs to sell on this tour that brought them to Port Charlotte, Avon Park, The Villages, Winter Park, Vero Beach and Sarasota. By the time they got to the Glenridge, they only had a handful left - and those were snapped up quickly during intermission at this sold-out event.

The performance was top notch. And 80 percent of the material was something not heard six nights nights earlier in Port Charlotte.

Rossano Sportiello
They included wide-ranging George Gershwin, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Thelonious Monk medleys, and several Sportiello tips-of-the-hat to influential pianists (George Shearing and Erroll Garner). Parrott's vocal gems included the Doris Day Hit "Fools Rush In" and clever lyric updates to the Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller 1962 song "I'm a Woman," which was a big seller for singer Peggy Lee. (This is the centennial of Lee's birth year).

Nicki Parrott
The only repeats from Port Charlotte were staples from the trio's repertoire: Garner's "Misty," Parrott's take on Ella Fitzgerald's hit "Mr. Paganini," Sportiello's adventurous Chopin meets Fats Waller feature (Chopin's "Waltz in C Sharp Minor" with a Stride piano finish), and versatile drummer Metz's cardboard box feature. (See the January 14 post for more detail on that).

The band also digs deep into the jazz canon to share material best described as lesser-known gems. This day, it was longtime Ellington alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges' "You Blew Out the Flame in My Heart" (also known as "Rabbit's Blues").

Parrott got back from a holiday visit to her native Australia just three days before the Florida tour. On Monday, January 20, she was off to the airport again. She flew home to Connecticut for something ceremonial - her naturalization as a new U.S. citizen.   

Morrie Trumble co-produced the Sarasota concert at the 260-seat GPAC as part of his Jazz With Morrie series. 

Rossano Sportiello, Nicki Parrott, Eddie Metz Jr.

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