Monday, April 18, 2016

Three Nights at The Side Door + Bassist's Bigmouth + CD Pick

Yet another busy weekend of music at The Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme; this time, it starts on Friday, features a drummer who's played the venue numerous times, has a sold-out show on Saturday, and ends on Sunday with a rollicking show from a Marsalis brother.

The drummer is E.J. Strickland and he's leading his quintet Transient Beings into the venue for the first time.  He formed the group in 2012 and the lineup includes vocalist Sarah Elizabeth Charles, 2 guitarists - Nir Felder and Tom Guarna - and electric bassist Rahsaan Carter.  As you can see, this is an "electric" group and, judging by their videos, the music can be electrifying.  Strickland's compositions reflect his philosophy and spiritual bent, with the music always pushing forward.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and Transient Beings play its first notes at 8:30.  Call 860-434-0886 for reservations.

Check out the quintet in action:

Vocalist and pianist Karin Allyson returns to The Side Door on Saturday but the show has been sold out for a good while.  Which is really no surprise as Ms. Allyson is one of the most popular and busiest performers on the scene.  She's touring to support her new album, "Many a New Day" (Motema Records); the recording finds her interpreting 14 songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein in the company of pianist Kenny Barron and bassist John Pattitucci.  It's quite a fine album and, perhaps, the video below will ease the pain of the sold-out gig in Old Lyme.

Go to to see where she's performing this year.

Here's a video about the new album:

Sunday evening at 8 p.m., Jan and Ken present Delfeayo Marsalis & the 2nd Line Quintet for 2 sets of music that comes from or is inspired by New Orleans. Trombonist Marsalis, the 3rd of the Brothers who are the musicians/sons of pianist Ellis Marsalis, is best known for his production work but he's also been a touring musician and has released five Cds under his own name since 1992 (three in the last 9 years).

For his gig in Old Lyme, he's bringing the rhythm section of Reginald Veal (bass), the great Marvin "Smitty" Smith (drums) plus Roderick Paulin (saxophone) and special guest Cyrus Chestnut (piano).  If that lineup doesn't make you want to get up and dance, best you check your pulse.  The trombonist/leader also knows how to play sweet ballads, music from Eliington and Strayhorn and other masters of jazz.

For tickets, go to or call 860-434-0886.  At the website, you can check out the upcoming shows through the middle of June and make your reservations accordingly.

Here's a taste of Poppa Marsalis and his sons swinging and "Struttin'":

Firehouse 12 in New Haven continues its Spring 2016 Concert Series with a visit from bassist and composer Chris Lightcap's Bigmouth. Lightcap, who is currently in the rhythm section of both the Matt Wilson Quartet and Regina Carter's group, has had quite the busy career recording and touring with the likes of vocalist Nicki Parrott, guitarist Joe Morris, Professor Anthony Braxton, and so many others.  The bassist named his quintet Bigmouth after releasing an album with that name in 2005.  The personnel has remained fairly stable over the past decade with Tony Malaby and Chris Cheek (tenor saxophones), Craig Taborn (piano, organ, electric piano) and Gerald Cleaver (drums).  The group's latest Clean Feed album, "Epicenter", was issued in 2015 and made many "Best Of" lists; deservedly so, as the music combines jazz and modern rock influences into a stew that blends the mesmerizing sounds of the saxes with a powerful rhythmic surge and the many keyboard colors that Taborn produces.

Bigmouth will play 2 sets - 8:30 and 10 p.m. - with separate admission to both.  For reservations, go to or call 203-785-0468.

Give a listen to the opening track of "Epicenter" here:

Also, I recommend you check out Jason Crane's interview with Mr. Lightcap on The Jazz Session. Click on the link up on the right of this column.

In 1921, with World War I and the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918-19 beginning to recede from the national memory, the musical "Shuffle Along" debuted on Broadway.  With an all-Black cast, music and lyrics by Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle, relegated to a distant theater on the edge of The Great White Way, the musical soon captured the hearts of Big Apple audiences with its exuberant and wonderful melodies.  Despite the fact that the show was built on racist stereotypes seen in the various Minstrel shows that been produced in the U.S. since the 1840s, the production brought Black audiences into the theater district, an area where they rarely ventured.  After its 15-month run on Broadway, the show took to the road and was quite successful through 1924.  The show has been revived several times and is now back on Broadway - The New York Times magazine ran a fascinating multi-media article on the show in March of this year - read it here.

Ehud Asherie has his own take on the music, producing a new solo piano CD. Appropriately titled "Shuffle Along" (Blue Heron Music), the young pianist, born in Israel but raised in Italy, explores the Blake tunes with joy and sensitivity.  Several of the tunes - in particular, "I'm Just Wild About Harry" and "Love Will Find a Way" - have long been part of the jazz standard repertoire. Listening to Asherie's performances, it's easy to understand why. The melodies are so well-developed (and hummable), moving with a lilt and grace plus a joie de vivre that belies the African American situation post Reconstruction.

My suggestion is to not only see the musical on Broadway (if you can) but also listen to this delightful recording from Ehud Asherie. He's such an accomplished musician, it's obvious to hear as he dances, sways, struts, and strolls through the melodies of Eubie Blake.  While a Broadway musical is often "blown up" to fill the stage, on a recording, one can revel in the rhythms, harmonies and melodies without having to watch a spectacle. What a treat!

For more information, go to

Here's the opening cut from the CD:

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