JOHN SHERIDAN KICKS IT (Sept. 5, 2011)

Underestimate pianist / composer / arranger John Sheridan at your peril.  Neatly dressed, apparently serious-minded, he is really a volcanic eruption of swing just waiting for the proper moment.  Yes, he can play the most delicate traceries behind a soloist or our Becky Kilgore, and when he sits down at a new piano he is more likely to venture into IN A MIST than HONKY TONK TRAIN BLUES (although his version of the latter song is peerless).  But he’s a Force of Nature when seated at the piano.  No cascades of notes; no violent runs up and down the keyboard; no “displays of technique”: John simply starts plainly and builds and builds — at these times, the pianist he summons up most is the much-missed Dave McKenna, without consciously aping the Woonsocket, R.I. master’s locomotive patterns.

Sheridan remains Sheridan, and that’s a good thing.

Here he is (with Richard Simon, bass; Dick Shanahan, drums) in the final set of the final afternoon of the 2011 Sweet and Hot Music Festival.  All the musicians and the varied audiences were in a state of Jazz Satiety: whatever could have been played or heard was in the preceding four days.

So wily Mr. Sheridan eschewed his stride extravaganzas and tender ballads: instead, he suggested something both elementary and profound, Sonny Rollins’ calypso ST. THOMAS.  And from those simple chords and potentially repetitive rhythmic patterns he built a powerful edifice — a masterpiece of variations on themes, of creative improvisation.  And it rocked the house there — as I think it will do for yours now:

Another winning play from John Sheridan, man of many surprises!

5 responses to “JOHN SHERIDAN KICKS IT (Sept. 5, 2011)

  1. A swinging trio by all means!

  2. You couldn’t hear it, but Shanahan came off the stage and said” that was fun! I want to do it again!”
    Thanks for the blessing of these wonderful snippets…. I rejoice that you were able to get so much of the festival “in the bag” so to speak and I especially appreciate your huzzahs for these wonderful talents.

  3. Being a big fan of John Sheridan, this was real treat for me.! I have a couple of his CDs, which I love,, but seeing him play like this is so great. thank you NM.

  4. So can I come back again in 2012? Love, Michael

  5. It’s hard to imagine a better trio. The two Richards are #1 on their axes.

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