Stan Strickland and Laszlo Gardony opened the new venue at Christ Episcopal Church in October. Stan was well known to Highland Jazz audiences but this was Laszlo’s first appearance in the series. That night Stan sang, played several different reed instruments and accompanied Laszlo on various percussion instruments including the conga – a tall, narrow, single-headed African drum. In this medley Stan begins with Clifford Brown’s “Blues Walk” and then moves on to “Alone Together;” in his solo Lazlo inserts two choruses of the blues- a great example of how these two musicians “played off” each other’s ideas. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBAztEpdXp4&feature=youtube_gdata
The Jazz Professors returned in November with Joe Hunt on drums, Paul Fontaine on trumpet, Ray Santisi on piano, Vishnu Wood on bass and Tony Corelli on saxophone. Although new to the group Vishnu came with an impressive resume having toured and recorded with many musical greats such as Elvin Jones, Terry Gibbs, Randy Weston, Yusef Lateef and Barry Harris. In their rendition of “Lotus Blossom” by Kenny Dorham you can hear the talent of each individual as well as the force of the group as a whole. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLobh_zmD74
Sometime during the summer I had received a CD from the Joyce DiCamillo Trio, a group based in Connecticut. I was so impressed by the recording (their fifth CD) that I hired them to perform in October. Their combined resumes read like a Who’s Who of Jazz. Pianist Joyce DiCamillo is listed in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities and Outstanding Young women of America.
Drummer Joe Corsella had toured extensively with such jazz legends as Benny Goodman, Peggy Lee, Marian McPartland, Gerry Mulligan, Zoot Sims and Lee Konitz. Bassist Rick Petrone had performed with Buddy Rich, Chet Baker, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Mel Torme and Marian McPartland. It was a splendid concert. The trio’s version of “I’m Old Fashioned” gives each player a chance to shine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dm5KdkM8R6Y
As for the new venue…………..I think people liked the table set up, although there were some who preferred to sit alone and moved their chairs into the aisles on the side of the room. The sound was quite good. Because the stage was raised you could see the musicians from anyplace in the room. The coffee was a big hit as the ample space to gather during intermission. On the other hand some of the folding chairs had no padding and were very uncomfortable. Unfortunately, the little candles on the tables couldn’t conceal the fact that the hall was rather dismal. It was a basement with absolutely no decorations on the beige walls. Moreover the candles were not reliable; sometimes for no apparent reason one or two would just refuse to turn on no matter how new the battery was. I rationalized that in past eras people used to gather in basement clubs or grimy bars to hear the music that they loved and Highland Jazz was definitely following that tradition.