The Trio +1 plays 2 sets - 8:30 and 10 p.m. - for ticket information, call 203-785-0468 or go to firehouse12.com. You'll be glad you did.
Harold López-Nussa brings his artistry and great knowledge of Afro-Cuban and classical music to the venue. The 31-year old López-Nussa has traveled the world with artists such as Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, trumpeter Christian Scott and vocalist Omara Portuondo's band. With Scott, Harris and saxophonist David Sanchez, he's recorded original as part of the 90 Miles project/band.
He'll bring his trio - Jorge "Sawa" Perez (bass) and the pianist's brother Ruy Adrián López-Nussa (drums) - and they'll play 2 sets. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the music starts at 8:30. For more information, call 860-434-0886 or go to thesidedoorjazz.com. To find out more about this fine young musician, go to www.haroldlopeznussa.com.
And, do they ever "cook!" Mr. Hart, who has never been busier as a musician, teacher and mentor, is the driving force, playing louder and harder than he does in his own fine Quartet. Mr. McBee may be the elder statesman but plays with great exuberance while Mr. Cables channels the muscular style of McCoy Tynee while retaining his more melodic style. His composition, "Farewell Mulgrew", pays tribute to this recently passed colleague, pianist Mulgrew Miller, showing a bluesier of the band. Mr. Harper, who strikes me as the heart and soul of the Septet, contributes 3 pieces to the 9-track program including the rousing opener, "Sir Galahad" and equally closer "Dance Eternal Spirits Dance." He still plays with great power and ferocity, his solos maintaining a link to the manner in John Coltrane approached his solos - go all out and don't settle for cliches. Dr. Henderson, who practice medicine pet-time in the 1970s and 80s before choosing music as his vocation, has a articulate style, more influenced by Clifford Brown and Booker Little. His understated solos on tracks such as the drummer's "Reneda" and bassist's "Slippin' and Slidin'" shows a bluesier side.
One of the true pleasures of this CD is listening to Billy Hart's work underneath the solos. He often leaves the "time" keeping to the piano and bass, playing counterpoint to the soloist. You hear this throughout, from "Sir Galahad" on, the drummer pushing, prodding, thumping, not allowing the music to sit still. Most notably, he lights a fire under Donald Harrison who has not sounded this "post-bop" in years. The alto saxophonist burns brightly on pieces such as the bassist's "Dance of the Invisible Nymph" and Mr Cable's fiery "Double or Nothing." Mr. Hart matches his intensity each time out, and also really pushing the leader on the latter track.
The Cookers rarely play ballads - the closest on "Time and Time Again" is "Farewell, Mulgrew" - yet their energetic style is contagious, not enervating. This is an ensemble that deserves to be seen and heard live. The recordings actually do their "sound" justice so play it loud and hang on to the wine glasses. For more information, go to motema.com/artists/the-cookers/.