No, it’s not a Roland Kirk tribute. But that title sprang into my head on the cab ride uptown last Sunday night from The Ear Inn (326 Spring Street in Soho, New York City). And I offer two of many episodes of musical brilliance.
The narrow front room was transformed as a group of two dozen German tourists very happily enjoyed their dinners and the band. (I’d like to see The Ear become a regular spot for people visiting New York, as long as I can still find a seat at the bar.)
And there were esteemed guests in the house — Mat and Rachel Domber of Arbors Records; the wonderful singer Becky Kilgore; our hero Bob Wilber and his wife Pug; guitarists Chris Flory and Julian Lage, among others.
The Ear Regulars were Matt Munisteri, Jon-Erik Kellso, Dan Block, and Jon Burr. And they ended their first set with a very propulsive version of the Rodgers and Hart THIS CAN’T BE LOVE. The hot solos and surging ensemble lines prove the title is incorrect:
For the second set, Bob Wilber was ready with his curved soprano. Although (at eighty-two!) his rhythmic drive has slowed, his power and lustrous tone have not diminished.
Here’s the EarRegulars plus Bob’s CHINATOWN, MY CHINATOWN, not too fast but full of ginger and pep:
They made that dark room luminous.