Very simple, no flourishes, nothing fancy: just four of the best musicians you’ll ever hear honoring the melodies, improvising at lightning speed, making a wonderfully cohesive little band right there in the corner at The Ear Inn (326 Spring Street, Soho, New York City) last Sunday night from 8-11 PM. By the summer of 2012 the EarRegulars will have pulled off such secular miracles for five years, which stands as an amazing record for creative consistency.
Last Sunday’s Peerless Quartet was Matt Munisteri, guitar; Jon-Erik Kellso, trumpet; Alex Hoffman, tenor saxophone; Neal Miner, string bass. Here are five varied and luminous performances from that evening:
The Claude Hopkins-Alex Hill declaration of gracious acquiescence, I WOULD DO [MOST] ANYTHING FOR YOU, which also became the Hopkins theme song. I always wonder whether it reflects the leader’s mood if the MOST is included or left out. Scholarly research, anyone?
Then a leisurely exposition of the 1922 Youmans SOMETIMES I’M HAPPY, at a tempo that recalls Lester Young and his gorgeous Keynote session:
So many “traditional” and “Dixieland” bands have claimed THE SHEIK OF ARABY for their own that one is in danger of forgetting what an effective swing tune it is. Here, Matt and Jon-Erik launch into the appropriately Middle-Eastern verse in a manner that recalls the eternally memorable Hot Lips Page session for V-Disc:
A lovely tune, not often played by jazz improvisers, is the Irving Berlin CHANGE PARTNERS — of course associated with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers:
And a sweet, musing version of Walter Donaldson’s MY IDEAL, recalling both Coleman Hawkins and Billie Holiday:
I was thrilled to be there . . . and I had very good company — new young friends, Travis and Jillian, who were digging the music in the most heartfelt way. Shazam, you cats!
The EarRegulars will be taking Sunday, February 5, 2012, off, because of the Super Bowl — but they will be back on the 12th with Matt, Jon-Erik, Mark Lopeman, and Nicki Parrott — prepare to swing!