Thursday, April 14, 2022

Back on the road, with love

When Japanese pianist Makoto Ozone last visited New York City, a not-so-funny thing happened. He was in the Big Apple in January 2020, planning to visit friends in advance of his next scheduled trip, an April 2020 appearance with his trio at Dizzy's Club.

“I was supposed to be there only for a few days, but I got COVID as soon as I got there. So I had to lock myself up for about 12 days. I had to cancel a gig in Germany because I couldn’t fly out,” Ozone emailed me. He couldn't return that April because his Dizzy's Club gig, and virtually all others in the jazz world, vanished thanks to the pandemic.

Shortly after his 2020 touring plans bit the dust, he started live-streaming solo piano concerts from his Tokyo home. He played every night for 53 consecutive nights. That initiative, “Welcome to Our Living Room,” drew more than thousands of viewers nightly. They included many musician friends and collaborators.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Levity accompanies vintage jazz mastery

Trombonist Herb Bruce and his Herbicide Jazz Band closed the Charlotte County Jazz Society's 2021-22 concert season on Monday, April 11 in Punta Gorda FL with a wide-ranging trip into the world of classic jazz. It featured a stage full of all-star players, accompanied between songs by the leader's self-deprecating humor.

Herb Bruce

This was Herbicide's third visit to the CCJS concert stage. There was a bit of repetition of favorites from the 2015 and 2018 sets, but the evening was mixed with fresh material, principally from 1920s and '30s Dixieland and New Orleans repertoires. All of it was delivered well by the sextet.

No matter whether he is playing classic jazz, swing jazz or bebop, Bruce is a master of the trombone – in technique, expressiveness and the musical passion that burst from his horn. 

Sunday, April 10, 2022

The sheer joy of swinging jazz

 You can hear it in the music, and you can see it in the faces.

Jazz at its best touches the audience, and is celebrated deeply in the musical communion among its makers. No matter the age gap, or the almost immeasurable decades of experience by most participants.

Brandon Goldberg
Such was the case on Sunday, April 10 when the Dan Miller-Lew Del Gatto quintet performed at Naples United Church of Christ. The quintet featured 16-year-old Miami-area pianist Brandon Goldberg - and for this 90-minute performance, he clearly was the center of attention in a band that was made up of jazz heavyweights.

They included trumpeter Miller, a veteran of the Harry Connick Jr. and Maynard Ferguson bands, and Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra; 30-year NBC Saturday Night Live Band alumnus Del Gatto; first-call Miami bassist Chuck Bergeron; and Philadelphia drummer Tony Vigilante, who spent 20 years touring with Ben Vereen.