Friday, May 27, 2022

Swinging jazz, no holds barred

The Dan Miller-Lew Del Gatto quartet's weekly gig at the Barrel Room in downtown Fort Myers FL always has a surprise or two, and the Thursday, May 26 edition was no exception.

Jim White
Drummer Jim White, a close friend and occasional band-mate of trumpeter Miller's since 1987 when they were freshmen at the University of North Texas (then known as North Texas State), was a special guest, joining bassist Don Mopsick in the piano-less rhythm section.

White, Mopsick, Del Gatto, Miller
White is a powerful, hard-swinging drummer whose creativity and inventiveness was on display all night long. The one-time road warrior also worked in Nashville for many years before moving to the Rockies. For the past 17 years, he has been on the jazz faculty at the University of Northern Colorado.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Casting her musical net far and wide

Singer Halie Loren covered the jazz and popular music waterfront - on the waterfront - in a Sunday, May 15, matinee concert at Selby Gardens' Historic Spanish Pojnt campus in Osprey FL. 

Halie Loren

She took the afternoon in some surprising directions, putting all sorts of music in a jazz context, delivered with a clear voice and deep understanding of the lyrics. She has always looked beyond the stylistic boundaries of jazz and standards for interesting material, and found ways to put her own stamp on it.

There were some jazz and Tin Pan Alley classics. There was a sprinkling of Latin and Brazilian tunes, and three originals. There were five tunes from the likes of Leonard Cohen, Bobbie Gentry, Etta James, Carole King, Bob Marley. A dozen of these gems were drawn from Loren's eight recordings since 2008.

The Sitka, Alaska native, now living in Oregon, was backed by a very fine Florida trio featuring pianist Zach Bartholomew from Miami, bassist Brandon Robertson from the Fort Myers area and drummer Rick Costa from nearby Venice.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Rooted in tradition, with personal, modern twists

Hammond B-3 player Tony Monaco's music is rooted in a mighty tradition, but isn't stuck there. He can take the B-3 to church, and even into pioneer Jimmy Smith's "chicken shack sound" when he wants, but he is also stretching his sound into something fresh and tasty. Credit that to his own modern twists - with a healthy dose of musical emotion on the side.

Tony Monaco
That was the case on Friday, May 13, as Monaco opened a two-night Florida mini-tour at the Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center in Sarasota. On this night, he was joined by guitarist LaRue Nicholson and drummer Rick Costa.

None had played together before this concert, a fact that underscored the magic of jazz. There was a freshness of ideas fired back and forth, turning the evening into the true essence of jazz - a swinging musical conversation among the players, which then touches the listeners.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

More on music from Quincy Davis

The May issue of Hot House includes my profile of drummer Quincy Davis, who performs with his quintet May 20-21 at Smalls Jazz Club in Greenwich Village (see p. 17).

As sometimes happens with extended interviews, this one produced far more material than the magazine's wordage limit could accommodate. 

So here are two additional topics of interest from Davis, who, in addition to his performing career, is on the University of North Texas jazz studies faculty.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Looking ahead: Southwest Florida jazz preview

Chiara Izzi
Here is a rundown of noteworthy jazz events, principally in the Sarasota to Naples territory, from now through early June. 

Keep in mind the reality of COVID-19 protocols, expect possible cancellations, and mask up to keep yourself and others safe.