By John Herr
Here is link to my Google+ album of 67 snapshots from Friday
sybAKN29Jj6ccjdo8 Photos have been uploaded full-size, are downloadable and are intended for the benefit of the musicians, The Other Side and the fans in the seats, all of whom are free to use them in any way that will advance the music.
Mags is a frequent visitor to his native CNY and has been a well-loved musician here for over 30 years. He was supposed to be accompanied on this trip by his wife, B-3 sensation Akiko Tsuruga, but the jazz organist developed a sore back after 40 straight gigs in the space of a month or two and stayed home to rest. What was intended to be a quartet, with The Other Side’s music director Mike Dubaniewicz on alto sax and first-call Rochester drummer Mike Melito at the traps, evolved into a quintet with the last-minute addition of two Ithaca musicians, veteran guitarist Steve Brown and bassist Desmond Bratton. Brown headed the Ithaca College jazz department for years and is internationally renowned, but Bratton, who teaches jazz and classical bass at Cornell U, is just stepping out onto the scene here.
Pros that they are, this combo was on from the opening number, Duke Ellington’s “Intimacy of the Blues”, then launched into Tadd Dameron’s “Tadd’s Delight”. Steve Brown slowed things down with an extended intro on “Easy Living”, Mags eventually entering, while Mike Melito gently brushed the snares and Bratton provided a bass-line cushion. Mike Dubaniewicz rejoined the combo as the leader switched to flugelhorn for Lee Morgan’s buoyant “Ceora”. They closed the first set with Bob Dorough’s carpe diem hymn, “Devil May Care”.
The near-capacity crowd was eager to hear what would follow, which turned out to be Duke Pearson’s “Is That So” and the standard “All the Things You Are”. Mags took a ballad turn on “Body and Soul”, later giving way to Dubaniewicz’s alto and Brown’s guitar. The quintet closed with a lambent reading of “Autumn Leaves”, to heavy applause.
In the crowd was WCDBfm.com Saturday morning jazz DJ Bill McCann, who drove the 90 miles from Schenectady to catch this concert and will be on the air (and the ethernet) live with four hours of mainstream jazz as many fans are reading this report. Log on from anywhere in the world, and don’t be surprised to hear music this morning from recent CDs by Joe Magnarelli and Mike Melito, two of Bill’s favorites. Bill was accompanied by Tim Coakley, another WCDBfm.com jazz DJ and fellow programmer for Schenectady’s concert series A Place for Jazz, which this fall will include performances by pianist Larry Willis’s trio (9/8) and singer Jackie Ryan with pianist Shelly Berg (the duo visiting from California, 10/6).
As for Friday night’s quintet, they will stage a second concert Saturday night at the Rome Arts Ctr and a final appearance Sunday night at 7:00 at Syracuse’s Jazz Central. In the audience at The Other Side was longtime Syracuse Hammond jammer George Franchell, disappointed not to catch the great Akiko but probably happy with the hard-swinging bop he did get to hear. The jazz concert series at The Other Side will resume in the fall.
Count on this photographer to appear at Jazz Central Sunday night, even though I also want to cover Jimmy Johns’s trio with Joe Carello and Tom Brigandi at Finger Lakes on Tap in Skaneateles Sunday afternoon. Mike Dubaniewicz will also stay busy in a quartet with Jose Antonio Bowen, Tom Brigandi and Larry Luttinger at Congregation Beth Shalom-Chevra Chas, 19 Patsy Lane, off Jamesville Rd, Monday night at 7:00.