The classic sound of vocalist Solitaire Miles up front, Willie Pickens on keys, and Zvonimir Tot
on guitar, made for an evening of jazz at the major league level.
|Great shot from Wednesday night, Willie Pickens and Solitaire Miles.|
"The Song Is You" opened the evening.
...as I sat with Solitaire we both enjoyed this jammin' version of the classic. Willie took off with the smoothness of a pianist that owned the 88's. His smooth, speedy, swinin' opening solo put a stamp on the evening.
Guitarist Zvonimir Tot followed with a solo of his own that took off reminiscent of the progressive jazz I use to hear back in the day. He took the classic melody and improvised it, swung it, teased it, all with hands that moved like none I have seen in quite some time, WOW!
"Exactly Like You" (1930) followed;
Solitaire's range took this evergreen up and then dragged it down to where writers Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields wanted it to go. You can tell Solitaire loves this tune, she leaves a piece of her out there on this one.
"Tenderly" another of Solitaire's favorites was up next:
...here is where the group makes you say "virtuosity".
Solitaire: Shows some of her classical training (Opera) with range, depth, vibrato, and carries this difficult tune and gives in a life in the Jazz genre.
...Willie's solo on this one also had me thinking, "how good is this guy?" Wednesday was the first time I had heard him. I don't think I have ever heard Tenderly given such attention. He took it apart, rebuilt it, and then lead in Zvonimir for his unbelievable work as he too made this soft loving melodic line sound like it was made for jammin.
I would be remiss if I did not inject the work of the rhythm section, on drums the amazing Robert Shy.
...and the solid bass work of Brian Sandstrom, held the bottom.
The group then picked up the tempo with "I Can't Give You Anything But Love".
The thing about going to see Solitaire's gigs, there is never a lull in the show. Ballard's, swing tunes, all are researched and given the treatment they were intended to have, the charts are excellent.
"Satin Doll" ...was done to perfection. Willie on piano ran away with this one. The Duke Ellington tune that all piano players want to put their stamp on got sent "Special Delivery" from the stage Wednesday night, a terrific rendition by Mr. Pickens.
Mr. Tot's solo brought this work from the jazz age of Ellington, to the 21st Century, with a solo that had me shaking my head, the dexterity he has ...second to none.
Other tunes on the bill, and they were all done to perfection;
"I Can't Give You Anything But Love", "Autumn Leaves", Lover Come Back To Me", Born To Be Blue", I'm Beginning To See The Light".
The closing tune was "Dark Eyes", you know it as the Russian "Oh Chichonia".
Willie Pickens has recorded it in the past and it was terrific. Solitaire did the entire lyric in Russian and the boys put a Chitown like jammmm on it. It did what all closing tunes are suppose to do, it left the audience wanting more!
....another great night at The Jazz Showcase a wonderful venue!
Willie Pickens.. http://www.williepickensjazz.com/
Zvionimir Tot.. http://www.zt-music.com/