It was another elevating night at The Ear Inn (326 Spring Street).
Nothing could spoil the collective merriment — not the fact that the subways were perversely unpredictable, not the untrained owner with the overeager dog who knocked over a beer and nearly ruined one of Jon-Erik Kellso’s antique mutes, never meant for a lager-bath.
No, when Jon-Erik, Scott Robinson (tenor and soprano this time), Matt Munisteri, and Pat O’Leary join forces, it’s a delightful and always surprising musical encounter. And (later on) they were joined by Bob Barnard (trumpet), who’s always inventive.
But the highlights for me were the imaginative musical conversations that the quartet and quintet embarked on — each player having his say but deeply listening to what his peers were doing and being inspired by it.
Bear in mind that these are highlights — for those of you seated at home, savoring this experience, it’s only a shadow of what really goes on at The Ear Inn.
After an energetic I DOUBLE DARE YOU, the EarRegulars chose something that has now become mildly unusual — the pretty Ray Noble ballad THE TOUCH OF YOUR LIPS played at a slightly faster tempo, reminiscent of what Ruby Braff might have done with this lyrical melody:
LIPS like those need a good long time:
Jon-Erik handed off the trumpet chair to Bob, who dove right in to a Louis-inspired CHINATOWN MY CHINATOWN, with Scott, Matt, and Pat in truly hot pursuit:
Music for two trumpets! Jon-Erik called for “a rocking blues,” and Bob stayed on for a lengthy BEALE STREET BLUES:
Making BEALE STREET talk:
Irving Berlin’s sweet A PRETTY GIRL IS LIKE A MELODY got a swinging exploration:
SLEEPY TIME GAL began with a lavish reading of the melody and became even more lovely:
Isham Jones’s ON THE ALAMO gave the quartet a chance to stretch out and explore:
Too good to draw to a close too quickly:
What lovely songs!