Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Firehouse 12, Side Door Jazz & Positively Posi-Tone

After a rousing Ben Allison Trio concert last Friday, Firehouse 12, 45 Crown Street in New Haven, stokes the fire once again this week (3/28) with the Kevin Hays New Day Trio. Pianist/composer Hays, a native of Southwestern Connecticut, is a very busy musician, working with his own group, alongside fellow pianist Brad Mehldau and with the Sangha Quartet featuring saxophonist Seamus Blake.  For the past decade +, he's been touring and recording with bassist Doug Weiss and drummer Bill Stewart but now has a new ensemble.  Drummer Adam Cruz and bassist/french horn player Rob Jost comprise the New Day Trio rhythm section and Hays has created a new book of compositions for the ensemble.

They will play 2 sets - 8:30 and 10 p.m. - and you can buy tickets online at firehouse12.com or by calling 203-785-0468.

The Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme continues its busy schedule with 2 fine shows this weekend. Friday night, guitarist/composer Oscar Penas brings his Ensemble to the club, a quartet that features bassist Moto Fukushima, drummer Rogerio Boccato and violinist Sara Caswell.  His music blends Spanish and South American influences; the use of violin with the guitar has truly expanded the scope of Penas' music.  The doors open at 7:30 p.m. with the music starting at 8:30.

On Saturday, the Noah Baerman Trio - pianist/composer Baerman (pictured above left), bassist Henry Lugo and drummer Vinnie Sperrazza - makes its Old Lyme debut.  They will be playing music from "Ripples", the new release from Baerman, as well as other pieces from their large repertoire (the NBT has been together for over a decade).  The group's interactions are often exciting and tuneful - the pianist, who has suffered from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (a connective tissue disorder) throughout his life, is playing better than ever.  As above, the music starts at 8:30 p.m. and reservations are a must.  For more information, call 860-434-0886 or go to thesidedoorjazz.com.

For his new CD, "JG3 +3" (Posi-Tone Records), organist Jared Gold has doubled the size of his ensemble (normally a Trio) to a sextet. Joining Gold, Dave Stryker (electric guitar), and Sylvia Cuenca (drums) is Patrick Cornelius (alto saxophone), Jason Marshall (baritone saxophone) and Tatum Greenblatt (trumpet).  Gold's music is quite soulful and the added voices heighten the effect.

From the outset, the music has the feel of a well-recorded Jimmy Smith album.  The program, a mix of standards, a few originals, and a Trio reading of James Taylor's "Shower The People." Stryker is an excellent musical companion, funky as all get-out whether in the lead or in support.  Ms. Cuenca is a driving force here, whether locked in the groove, as she is on the Gold original, "Pendulum", or driving the sextet with abandon on Ray Bryant's "Cubano Chant."   Her brushes dance over the kit on "No Moon At All", a tune made famous by Julie London in 1956 but here a blazing track with fine solos from the leader and Cornelius.  Greenblatt rocks his solo on "I Can't Stop Loving You" (the Michael Jackson tune from "Bad", not the Ray Charles hit). Bari sax player Marshall (who has recorded and worked in the big bands of Roy Hargrove and Charles Tolliver, leads the group in on its reading of Cannonball Adderley's "Sermonette."  His solo is sweet and passionate. The saxophones and guitar blend to play the theme of "Charcoal Blues", a Wayne Shorter composition from his 1964 "Night Dreamer" Blue Note Lp. Cornelius digs down deep for a soulful solo which is matched by a fine statement from Stryker.

As for Jared Gold, his playing is striking throughout the program.  His footwork is deft while his accompaniment is always tasteful; Gold's solos are always interesting, with that wonderful B-3 sound, full and harmonious.  "JG3 + 3" is a delightful antidote for the craziness in the everyday world.  For more information, go to www.jaredgoldb3.com

"Ride" is the 5th CD saxophonist/composer Tom Tallitsch has issued and his second for Posi-Tone Records.  Born in Ohio and now living in Jersey City, New Jersey, Tallitsch has a busy schedule of teaching and playing plus a weekly radio show (8 - 10 p.m. Thursday on WWFM-Jazzon2).  This CD features the impressive rhythm section of Art Hirahara (piano), Peter Brendler (bass) and Rudy Royston (drums) with trombonist Michael Dease joining the front line on 8 of the 11 tracks.

The program opens with the title track, an intense "Ride" for the quartet pushed by the intense drum work of Royston and Tallitsch's strong tenor work.  Hirahara matches that intensity with a blazing solo that displays the influence of McCoy Tyner.  "Rubbernecker" has a similar feel but with a deceptive melody. Again, the rhythm section lights the fire and the leader carries the torch through a fiery solo.  The soulful ballad "Rain" displays another side of Tallitsch's playing, his full-tone and sustained notes telling a story.  Brendler takes a very melodic solo over the simple time-keeping of Royston and Hirahara's impressionistic chords. "Life on Mars" is an intelligent reading of the David Bowie composition, Tallitsch's tenor sticking to the melody supported by Dease's trombone and the fulsome piano chords.  Dease also adds heft to the melody line and backgrounds of "The Giving Tree" - his full tone adds a hearty counterpoint to the tenor on the group's reading of Led Zeppelin's "Ten Years Gone."  Dease steps out on the Tallitsch original "El Luchador", his intense solo pushing the bass and drums to respond in kind. The Quintet "gets down" on "Knuckle Dragger", a pleasing slab of funky blues that is ever-so-playful.

Tom Tallitsch is one of those rare contemporary tenor saxophonists who does not sound overly influenced by John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter or Michael Brecker.  He's studied with both Joe Henderson and Chris Potter plus it's obvious from his wide-ranging material that he listens to many different styles of music.  The band on "Ride" makes music that not only captures your ears but also your soul - to take a test drive, go to www.posi-tone.com/ride/ride.html.  To find out more about the saxophonist, go to www.tomtallitsch.com.

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