Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mr. Parker Comes to Hartford + Joey C's 3

The Improvisations series at Real Art Ways, 56 Arbor Street in Hartford, continues Saturday night May 25 when bassist/ percussionist/shakuhachi player William Parker comes to play with series co-ordinators Stephen Haynes (trumpet) and Joe Morris (guitar). Parker has been involved in the creative music scene for over 4 decades, working first as a sideman then recordings and touring his own music (in various ensembles) since 1994.  He played alongside Messrs. Haynes and Parker in March of this year at Firehouse 12 and has recorded with the guitarist o several occasions.

Judging by past musical experiences, one expects this evening to run the gamut of styles and emotions, ranging from quiet, impressionistic, segments to raucous 3-way conversations.  The music starts at 7 p.m.  For more information, go or

Pianist Joey Calderazzo, who first came to critical notice in the late 1980s as a member of saxophonist Michael Brecker's band, has been a member of Branford Marsalis's Quartet, taking over the piano chair after the passing of Kenny Kirkland.  He has matured into one of the finer melodic players.  He's not afraid to swing but when he digs into a solo, one can always hear how his lines are a logical extension of the melody.

"Joey Calderazzo Trio Live" is his 11 CD as a leader or co-leader and first for the Sunnyside label.  Recorded in Missoula, Montana (at the unique Daly Jazz), the program finds the pianist in the company of bassist Orlando Le Fleming and drummer Donald Edwards.  The program ranges from 2 long and hard-swinging originals to 1 piece each by Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Paul Motian and a truly moving performance of Bobby Troup's "The Meaning of the Blues."  No track is shorter that 8:26 and the set closer, Motian's "Trieste", clocks in at 17:20.  There are a number of factors why this is such a memorable recording but none more important than the music is almost always framed as a 3-way conversation and not leader with accompaniment.  The Trio comes bursting out of the gate with Calderazzo's "The Mighty Sword" - the band takes off on a romp that does not let up for 12 minutes. Even the bass solo is a romp.  The other original, "To Be Confirmed", is a bluesy confection with a New Orleans flavor as it opens before the piano solo gets Le Fleming walking and Edwards dancing.  "Time Remembered", the Evans composition originally recorded in 1963 but not released until 2 decades later, begins with a nod to the older pianist's sound but soon takes off on a high-powered piano solo. This time, the band does slow down for a fine bass solo that actually brings the song to a slower coda.

"Trieste" closes the program, drawing the listener in with its rubato opening that leads to the statement of Motian's handsome melody.  At the 7 minute mark, the rhythm section steps back (but not out) for a long exploratory piano solo to begin; the bass and drums return as Calderazzo's solo picks up steam. His solo continues, building upon the hard swing of Le Fleming and driving drums of Edwards rising to a climax at the 14-minute mark.  Everything slows down, the main melody returns and the piece glides to its peaceful conclusion.

"Joey Calderazzo Trio Live" is a real joy, a piano trio recording that runs the gamut of emotions without sounding pretentious or forced.  Instead, the music swings, sighs, roars, and soothes - I envy the audience in attendance.  For more information and to hear a track from the CD, go to

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