• Live Blog: Anat Cohen at Village Vanguard 10.22.08

    October 22, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Anat Vanguard Door

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    Anat walked into the club a few minutes before doors opened to the public.  She's using a new reed on her soprano saxophone tonight, so she spent some time warming up the soprano and breaking in the new reed.

    The first set is sold out tonight.  There's a party of 16, a party of 10, and a party in the Village Vanguard tonight.

    Anat and I have talked through tonight's program.  Should be a good one!

    Pianist Jason Lindner just arrived.  He and Anat are talking about how to end the second set.  They're ahead of everyone tonight.

    The band's all here.  Showtime in T minus 8 minutes.

    We're live.  Anat Cohen and her quartet (Jason Lindner, piano; Joe Martin, bass; Daniel Freedman, drums) are blasting into a modern arrangement of Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz."

    Anat quotes "Pop Goes the Weasel."  Thad Jones would be proud.   His quote of it from Count Basie's version of "April in Paris" is one for the ages.  One more time!

    Montuno, baby!  Ernesto Lecuona's "Siboney,"  played with vigor.  Anat's clarinet tone is the sound of unbridled optimism.  It's refreshing.

    This is such a difficult song to cover.  If you're gonna tackle Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come," you better bring everything you have to this song.  I believe Anat has done that.

    "Washington Square Park" opens with Jason Lindner plucking the piano strings, which are covered with paper.  It makes the piano sound like a berimbau, or some kind of African-based instrument.  Very cool.

    Anat switches to tenor sax.

    That song went to a lot of places.  All in Washington Square Park.  Now, we're moving into the blues with Don't Let the Sun Catch You Cryin'.  As an aside, I really love Taj Mahal's version...

    Clsong out the set with the Brazilian Duke Ellington, Pixinguinha.  His composition "Um A Zero."  Tudo bem!

  • Live Blog: Bill Charlap Trio at Village Vanguard 10.8.08

    October 8, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Vanguard Marquee: Bill Charlap Trio
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    Doors are open at the Vanguard, and folks are pouring in for tonight's show.

    The trio rarely gets to the Vanguard with time to spare before the show.  I guess that's how they keep it fresh.  It's definitely how to keep the production crew on edge.

    Some extramusical news from the Vanguard.  Last night, someone robbed the nail salon at street level, just above the Vanguard.  Normally, that would not be a problem.  But the genius burglars decided to turn on the faucets and flood the place.  That caused a mess inside the club.  Lorraine Gordon arrived at 4am to a flooded club that resembled a swimming pool, complete with cops and firemen.  Jed Eisenman from the Vanguard came in at 11am and got to work.  Folks who walk in tonight would never know the difference.  That's showbiz!

    Bill Charlap?  Check.  Peter Washington?  Check.   Kenny Washington?  Not yet.

    The band's all here...obviously.  They started with an underrated composer, Gigi Gryce.  This is "Satellite."  Not a song that even most jazz aficionados know.  But these guys know it just fine.

    Not to diminish David Tallacksen's excellent recording skills, but it definitely helps when you have this kind of natural balance among the musicians.  You can't make a bad performance sound great.  Not to worry here.

    After a lovely version of Gerry Mulligan's "Curtains," Bill Charlap moves directly into Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust."

    The trio is swinging Lucky Thompson's "Prey-Loot" mercilessly.

    Close your eyes, and you could almost imagine Peter Washington as Oscar Pettiford.  Such a crystalline tone.  It's a joy to hear Peter, always.

    Harold Arlen's music always had a real blues feel.  I suspect that's a big reason why jazz musicians love his music.  This is "When the Sun Comes Out."

    You're clear "Out of This World."  Another Harold Arlen composition.  Great rhythm driving this one.  Kenny Washington is providing the ultra-hip beat.

    "Make Me Rainbows."  Bill Charlap's knowledge of the Great American Songbook runs pretty deep.  Nice swing.

    Someone's cell phone just ruined this recording of Kern's "The Way You Look Tonight."  Even on vibrate, it interferes.  People turn them off!  What's so important???  Aarg...

    The trio is burning thought the chord changes on "The Way You Look Tonight." I don't think I've heard many musicians play the Jerome Kern standard at this tempo.  Yowza.

    Such a great trio when it comes to straight-ahead bebop and songbook.  They're on their own turf.  And you can hear it!

    Just when I thought the show was over, surprise!  "Sophisticated Lady."  Duke Ellington gets the nod.

    Goodnight, all.  We're back at the club in a few weeks.  Tell all your friends.