Friday, February 28, 2020

An all-star blast of an evening

You never know what surprises you're in for when the Dan Miller-Lew Del Gatto quartet holds musical court on Thursday nights at The Barrel Room in downtown Fort Myers FL. It's always billed as a quartet gig - and sometimes that's the case. But on Thursday, February 27, it started out as a sextet and wound up something quite different a few tunes later.
Krakowsky, Vigilante, Del Gatto

Tenor saxophonist Gerald Augustin, a Fort Myers native who divides his time between the City of Palms and New Orleans, was in the mix. So was tenor player Arnie Krakowsky, a Boston-based jazz veteran, who was vacationing in the area. 
The evening began with trumpeter Miller, the three tenors plus bassist Dan Heck and drummer Tony Vigilante. The contrast between the saxophonists was interesting. "Saturday Night Live" Band alum Del Gatto never overplays. Every note has meaning, and his solos are wonderful little stories. Krakowsky, an Artie Shaw Orchestra veteran, firmly sits in the swing tenor tradition. Augustin is more influenced by John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, and has an edgier sound.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Looking ahead: Southwest Florida jazz preview

Here is a rundown of noteworthy jazz events, principally in the Sarasota to Naples territory, from now through March, as the 2019-20 concert season continues…. Note that some in late March may have been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

A Brazilian's musical travelog

Brazilian acoustic guitar wizard Diego Figueiredo treated a full-house in Sarasota on Sunday, February 23 to spellbinding technique and an around-the-world travelog of places he's been that have inspired his music.

Diego Figueiredo
Figueiredo, 39, has been playing guitar since age 6. He has mastered the acoustic instrument with blended classical and jazz techniques into something distinctly Diego. At one point, he sounded like two different guitarists performing the same song together as he shifted between - and blended - arpeggio and tremolo styles.

His solo guitar program included an Antonio Carlos Jobim medley playing tribute to the father of the bossa nova, and snippets of music and styles from around the world - including France, Spain, Cuba, Mexico, Japan, Turkey and the United States.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Swing, swing, swing indeed

Pianist Roy Gerson couldn't have picked a more appropriate name for his band. The Swinget says it all, no matter how many musicians he has along for the fun ride on a given night.

He brought his full eight-member band to Port Charlotte on Monday, February 10 for a Charlotte County Jazz Society concert. The band dug into a strong blend of material from the Great American Songbook, vintage swing jazz, a bit of boogie woogie, the blues, the heartache lyrics of Billie Holiday and even some R&B.

Roy Gerson
The band included trumpeters Dan Miller and Randy Sandke, trombonist Herb Bruce, guitarist Frank Portolese, bassist Don Mopsick, drummer Tony Vigilante and singer Corrine Manning. Gerson and Manning moved to Naples three years ago from New York City.

Monday, February 10, 2020

A Swift star on the rise

Veronica Swift
Singer Veronica Swift, fresh off a week aboard The Jazz Cruise, brought her musical journey back to Sarasota on Sunday, February 9. Anyone who has heard her knows well that she is graced with an abundance of musical talents. 

She sings. She scats with intelligence and care. She emulates other instruments with uncanny ease. She's a fine lyricist and composer. And she has mastered the difficult art of writing and delivering vocalese - putting words to improvised horn solos. 

All of that was on display at her annual Florida swing with tenor saxophonist Jeff Rupert's quartet. It included Richard Drexler on piano, Marty Morell on drums and Ben Kramer on bass.