November 4, brought the first live jazz concert that I’ve been able to hear in
person in nearly eight months. The last was in early March.
road trip was to Artis Naples, where the Naples Philharmonic Jazz Orchestra resumed
its concert series last month – with careful attention to pandemic protocols.
than perform to two packed shows in the more intimate, 275-seat Daniels
Pavilion, Artis Naples moved the performances next door to the 1,600-seat Hayes
Hall. Temperatures were checked at the entrance, masks were required for the audience, staff and musicians, and the roughly 200 people who turned out were
given seats far apart from each other. It felt a bit odd yet comforting, at the
resident sextet’s concerts usually feature a special guest soloist. West Coast singer Kenny Washington was due to
make his third appearance in the series, which is now in its 11th season. But the audience found out at the
start of last night’s show that he was not there.
show went on with NPJO veterans Lew Del
Gatto on tenor sax, Dan Miller on trumpet, Glenn Basham on violin and harmonica,
Jerry Stawski on piano, Kevin Mauldin on bass, and Mike Harvey on drums. With
one day’s notice that Washington wouldn’t make it this year, the band put together a fine program featuring interesting arrangements and superb
playing on some of the players’ favorite tunes.
|Lew Del Gatto|
included Ben Webster’s “Did You Call Her Today?,” an extended blues exploration of
Monk’s “Straight No Chaser,” and a Jazz
at the Philharmonic-style ballad medley in which four of the players were
featured as it coursed between tunes. Del Gatto opened with “Body and Soul,”
Mauldin’s arco bass mastery provided a beautiful contrast on “My Funny
Valentine,” Basham was featured on chromatic harmonica on “Autumn in New York,”
and trumpeter Miller brought it all home with “These Foolish Things.”
spotlight feature came when the trio dug into Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “The Red Blouse,” a lesser-known bossa nova (samba) from his 1967
album Wave. The sextet closed out the
evening with a rollicking take on “Caravan” that spotlighted Harvey’s drumming.
various reasons, perhaps including hesitance to travel during the COVID-19 situation,
has impacted the sextet’s 2020-21 series. The first three scheduled special
guests cancelled. Artistic director Del Gatto has been able to replace one of
them. But we'll see what happens as the season progresses.
Randy Sandke, who relocated a couple of years ago from New York City to nearby
Venice, will be the sextet’s special guest on December 16.
the rest of our guests will show up,” Del Gatto told me today, “but who knows?”
|Stawski, Mauldin, Del Gatto, Harvey, Miller, Basham|
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