Sunday, September 12, 2010

Running behind on reporting some of my recent jazz excursions. Some weeks ago my wife and I traveled to The Redmoor in the Cincinnati area to listen to one of her favorite jazz guitar players, Dan Faehnle (mine too), accompanied by Jim Connerly on keyboards, Mike Sharfe on bass and Tony Franklin on drums. Dan Faehnle once again accompanied by some of the Cincinnati areas best and for my money, it is tough to beat Jim Connerly on piano or Mike Sharfe on bass but all are excellent jazz musicians. Many thanks to Doc B. Productions and Walt Broadnax for keeping jazz alive. I urge all who can make it to attend the performances Doc makes available.

In the meantime, I traveled back down to the Cincinnati area with WDPS FM (89.5) Big Band Show Guru Conrad Jessee to hear one of our favorite singers, April Aloisio. She did not disappoint plus she was accompanied by Phil Burkhead on keyboards and Sandy Suskind on flute. They did make the trip worthwhile and Phil tipped me off to a faculty recital coming up in September.

Shortly after that, Conrad and I (plus this trip his son-in-law came too) made our occasional sojourn to the Blue Wisp Jazz Club on a Wednesday night to hear the Blue Wisp Big Band. Every time we hear them we just have to shake our heads in amazement and wonder why we do not get down there more often. So many world class musicians and driven by what the late jazz aficionado, Don Henke, referred to as 'the world's best big band drummer" - Jon Von Ohlen, a former Stan Kenton drummer. They are always fantastic but on this night a special shout out to Hank Mountner and Kim Pensyl on trumpet.

Today I made time to run over to the University of Dayton to hear a faculty recital headed up by Garin Webb on Saxophone [thank you Phil Burkhead for the tip]. It was not very well publicized, a loss for those who might have attended otherwise, but Garin on tenor sax, Phil Burkhead on a "real piano" with Eddie Brookshire on bass and Fenton Sparks on drums. The Faculty recitals usual last about an hour but three songs are worth note, Phil Burkhead kicked off "Blue Monk" and the bass and drums made it quite an interaction between the three performers with Garinn Webb playing the role of Monk's long time tenor sax player, Charlie Rousch. I have heard Ishfahon many times, a Billy Strayhorn composition played by Ellington's band among others but today I really heard it for the first time. What a beautiful tune. Garin Webb was absolutely at his best as he turned another beautiful Billy Strayhorn composition into something truly special. Thank you Garin. The quartet ended the performance with a rousing rendition of "In Walked Bud" - another Monk tune. All musicians played excellent solos but what kept coming through to me throughout the final tune was the baseline laid down by Eddie Brookshire and he added a memorable solo as well.