Drummer Eddie Metz Jr., bassist & singer Nicki Parrott and piano marvel Rossano Sportiello were happy to be back in front of a live audience. In this case, it was a packed house of more than 220 fans at Gulf Theater at The Military Heritage Museum in Punta Gorda FL.
Sportiello's stunning keyboard techniques were evident from the opening bars as he explored “Chicago, (That Toddlin' Town)” and the Gershwin brothers' “But Not For Me,” the latter as an uptempo burner with a honky-tonk flavor. Later in the program, Benny Goodman's “”If Dreams Come True” was another new treat. Unike past visits, he didn't include anything from his dazzling classical repertoire but it wasn't needed.
Orlando-based Metz is a swinging drummer who can drive hard or add subtle touches as the moment require, shifting with ease between sticks, mallets, brushes and hand drumming. He was featured on“Shoe Shine Boy,” written by Saul Chaplin and Sammy Cahn, and a Count Basie band feature for tenor saxophonist Lester Young. It was a fitting choice. When Michigan native Metz was a 20-year-old music student at William Paterson University, Basie hire him to play drums in his powerhouse band for six months.
|Eddie Metz Jr.|
Sportiello provided three of the evening's finest moments. He explored Erroll Garner's instrumental classic “Misty” in the middle of the first set with crystalline delicacy. He followed it with a teasing stride-piano improvisation that seamlessly led into the Stevie Wonder hit “Isn't She Lovely.” Lovely indeed.
Late in the second set, the pianist had an extended “Sound of Music” moment, opening with an intimate solo exploration of “Edelweiss” that led into a tension-building trio take on “Climb Every Mountain” from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical/film score, before resolving with a brief and gentle “Edelweiss” tag.
The trio brought this fine evening to a close with W.C. Handy's “St. Louis Blues,” a regular feature that showcased their instrumental talent.
the face of the continued pandemic, which brought an early halt to
one CCJS concert season and cancellation of another, this night was a reminder that Sportiello shared with the audience:
“Music is the one thing that will carry us through the hardest
|The International Trio|