Sunday, June 19, 2016

Summer's Here, So's Live Music!

The Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme presents vocalist and composer Tessa Souter in an intimate trio session this Friday (6/25) at 8:30 p.m.Ms. Souter, born in London, England now based in New York City, first came to critical notice in 2004. After several years working as a journalist, she started to study with vocalist Mark Murphy and has recorded 4 albums with her most recent being 2012's "Beyond the Blue", produced by the Japan-based Venus Records and released in the United States by Motéma.  That album combines Ms. Souter's lyrics with classical works by the likes of Chopin, Schubert, Beethoven, Ravel, and others.

photo by Janis Wilkins
She's a marvelously articulate singer, caressing ballads without making them treacly.  Her material comes from many different sources; besides her own material, her repertoire includes works by Cream, Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach, Van Morisson, and Antonio Carlos Jobim. For this concert, she'll be accompanied by guitarist David Gilmore and bassist Boris Kozlov (best known for his work in the Mingus Big Band.) Much of the material in Old Lyme will come from Ms. Souter's upcoming album.

The doors open at 7:30 p.m. For more information, go to or call 860-434-0868.  To learn more about the vocalist, go to

Here's a piece from 2012, live at The Blue Note:

On Saturday night, Jan & Ken welcome the Vincent Herring Quartet to The Side Door.  Herring, an alto saxophonist who's been on the "scene" for over three decades, first worked with cornettist Nat Adderley, brother of Cannonball (Herring is now a member of the Cannonball Adderley Legacy band).  He went on to work with Dizzy Gillespie, Freddie Hubbard, Wynton Marsalis, the Mingus Big Band and many others.  He's been on dozens of recordings while issuing 19 of his own.

Joining him in Old Lyme is his regular Quartet which includes Mike LeDonne (piano), David Williams (bass), and Carl Allen (drums and then some).  They'll play some serious hard-bop plus a number of fine ballads.  The Vincent Herring Quartet takes the stage at 8:30 p.m.  For more information, call 860-434-0886.

Here's a piece from his 2013 Smoke Sessions Record release "The Uptown Shuffle:"

On Friday, The Buttonwood Tree, 605 Main Street in Middletown, presents Medusa, a quartet from Hartford that features tap dancer Corey Hutchins, drummer Jocelyn Pleasant, pianist Orice Jenkins, and bassist Matt Dwonszyk.  The dancer and the drummer met at the Artists Collective in Hartford, formed a group to play mostly standards and great r'b' tunes.  Once they added Jenkins and Dwonszyk, they really took off, playing gigs throughout Connecticut and also throwing in some original material. Tap and Black American music has a history that goes back to the mid-19th Century, really growing in popularity from the 1920s through World War II (and beyond - witness Savion Glover).

Medusa will play from 8 - 10 p.m. with a short break. For more information, go to

Here's a video of Mr. Hutchins and the band in action from 2014:

On Saturday, bassist Dwonszyk heads to Integrity 'n' Music, 506 Silas Deane Highway in Wethersfield, to play alongside tenor saxophonist Bennie Wallace and drummer Carmen Intorre.  Wallace, a native of Chattanooga, TN, moved to New York City in the mid-1970s, formed a group with bassist Eddie Gomez (Bill Evans Trio) and drummer Eddie Moore, releasing his debut Lp in 1977, "The Fourteen Bar Blues."  Over the decades, he's recorded with pianist Tommy Flanagan, Dr. John, Kenny Barron, Chick Corea, Dave Holland, and Oliver Lake plus he created or creating the orchestrations for movie soundtracks such "Bull Durham" and "White Men Can't Jump."  He has always had a "big" sound, with a tone more akin to Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster than John Coltrane (although Wallace has often shown a "wilder" side in his playing).

Wallace is now living in Greenwich, CT, where he is the artistic director of Back Country Jazz, a program he created in 2007 to help stem the loss of music and arts programs in the public schools. He brings top-notch artists to work with the children and created several ensembles featuring the students.

Integrity 'n' Music is located in the rear of the building at 506 Silas Deane Highway.  The concert, which starts at 2 p.m., is free and open to the public.  For more information, call Ed K at 860-563-4005.

In the meantime, here's a "field recording" of Bennie Wallace from 2010:
The young tenor saxophonist from the Hartford area, Mike Casey, is beginning to spread his musical wings. Casey, a graduate of the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the University of Hartford, has been writing a slew of new songs and has developed quite a Trio with bassist Alex Tremblay and drummer Mike Scott.  The ensemble has gelled nicely over the past 12 months and you can hear for yourself on Saturday evening when the Mike Casey Trio at the Passages Gallery, 509 Farmington Avenue in Hartford.

For more information, call the Gallery at 860-523-3232 or send an email to   To learn more about Mike Casey, go to

Here's the Trio live (with drummer Corey Garcia) from a December 2015 gig at Yale:

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