Joel Press (tenor and soprano saxophone) and Spike Wilner (piano) created life-affirming music at Smalls (138 West 10th Street, New York City) on July 7, 2011. Joel and Spike had played together once before, but this was their first official performance — and we hope it’s the first of many.
Both Joel and Spike love to create energetically rollicking melodies — theirs is true playfulness. And the ideas that come from one are heard and bounced back by the other. Although Joel says he’s only a Boston boy, I hear a true Southwestern depth of feeling in his playing, with Herschel Evans sitting alongside Lester Young and Charlie Parker . . . although what comes out is unmistakably Joel, from those mobile knees on up. I first heard Spike six yers ago and admired his playing — orchestral but incisive, making space for Cliff Jackson and Bud Powell. Now, in 2011, he has grown so much more into himself, with a joyous inventiveness that inspires both Joel and hearers from the first note.
See and hear for yourself!
IT’S YOU OR NO ONE:
For Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, and Lester Young, PENNIES FROM HEAVEN:
A SLOW BOAT TO CHINA taken at a hilariously brisk tempo — are we in Beijing already, Captain?
A GHOST OF A CHANCE, explicitly for Lester:
Charlie Parker’s DEWEY SQUARE, complete with geo-historical commentary by Joel:
I REMEMBER YOU, with a lovely rubato beginning:
BLUES IN B FLAT:
THREE LITTLE WORDS:
Fats Navarro’s line on OUT OF NOWHERE changes, NOSTALGIA:
Finally, YOU STEPPED OUT OF A DREAM:
Thanks to Joel and Spike for such joyous surprises, and to Doug Panero and Louise Farrell for just the right kind of moral support!