Sunday, October 1, 2017

Two Days & Plenty of Music

Saxophonist, composer, and educator Rene McLean returns to Connecticut on Friday October 6 to perform two sets of music at The Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme. The son of saxophonist and educator Jackie McLean, he's traveled the world, lived in South Africa for some time and returned to CT to teach at the school that bears his father's name at the University of Hartford.

Joining him in Old Lyme will be several of his contemporaries from the Hartt School including bassist Nat Reeves, drummer Eric McPherson, and trombonist Steve Davis plus Hubert Eaves III (piano), and Neal Clarke (African percussion).  You'll hear influences from throughout the eras of jazz as well as from its African roots.  For ticket reservations, call 860-434-2600.

That dapper gentleman on the left is keyboard and organ player Brian Charette. The native of Meriden CT is bring his Kürrent Trio, including guitarist Yotam Silberstein and drummer Jordan Young to Firehouse 12, 45 Crown St in New Haven on Friday.  Mr. Charette is one of the busier players in this country and in Eastern Europe whether he's playing straight-ahead jazz, rock (he plays keyboards in Allan Brothers drummer Jaimoe's Jasssz Band), or the new electronic track he takes with this group.  The trio's self-released debut, issued this summer, features Ben Monder and finds the organist also contributing electric piano, various synths, and sequencers to the mix.  The music is delightfully upbeat, a dizzying mix of funky beats, swinging grooves, and much more. Young, who has played with the organist for a long time, really drives the trio.  Silberstein is an excellent replacement for Monder and i expect the intimate performance space to rock plenty hard.

For more information, go to or call 203-785-0468.  To find out more about Kürrent and its leader, go to

On Saturday evening, The Side Door welcomes back composer, saxophonist (alto and soprano), bassist, and educator Mark Zaleski and his Band. You may recognize the last name as his brother Glenn performs with a number of groups (including his own). The Brothers from Boylston, MA, grew up playing music and both were busy around the Boston area. The saxophonist has worked with The Either/Orchestra and toured with Jethro Tull (!) plus has recorded with the Omar Thomas Large Ensemble, pianist Matt Savage (with whom he played The Side Door in 2016), and Brighton Beat.  Mark went on to study at the New England Conservatory of Music where his Band was formed 11 years ago.  The core band - Glenn, tenor saxophonist Jon Bean, guitarist Mark Cocheo, bassist Danny Weller, plus drummer Oscar Suchenek (a newcomer as he joined the band in 2013) - has a new album "Days, Months, Years" (self-released) filled with material they have played for several years.

The album is great fun. Six tracks, four of them originals plus two fascinating covers (Thelonious Monk and Kenny Clarke's "Epistrophy" and Charlie Parker's "Big Foot") and each is interesting in its own right.  The Monk tune gets "funkified" (brother Glenn on Rhodes and a hard-edged solo from Cocheo) while the Parker tune is slowed down and the group pared down to a trio (bass, drums, alto sax).  The originals are really quite impressive, most of them episodic, each with intelligent interplay, fine melodies, and strong solos.  All this bodes well for The Side Door gig as the band is "tight" and loves to play. For these sets, guitarist Carl Eisman will take the place of Cocheo.

For more information, go to or call 860-434-2600.  To learn more about the leader and his many musical associations, go to

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