One way of identifying Ron Odrich is that he is a Park Avenue, New York City periodentist who happens to play clarinet. But once you’ve heard him play, you’ll agree that this definition is, at best, upside-down. Really, he is a fine jazz clarinetist who happens to have a day gig as well. He gets around nimbly on his instrument, with a fine command of that treacherous horn in all its registers; he has a big sound, cool but never cold, and he turns corners like a great racing car driver.
He’s also got durability: his little band has been gigging for thirty years, a record hard to beat. These days, on the first Tuesday of every month, they play an early gig (6 – 8:30 PM) at the amiable Italian restaurant SAN MARTIN (143 East 49th Street, New York City).
With Ron for this session, on February 7, were Cenz on drums, Gary Mazzaroppi on string bass, James Chirillo on guitar, and — as a guest star — Dan Block on tenor sax and clarinet. This band stretched out on five tunes — one of them a ballad feature for Dan — and everyone in the place beamed.
They began with a sweetly twining version of that musical oxymoron, ALONE TOGETHER:
A lovely but moving impression of Tommy Dorsey’s theme, I’M GETTING SENTIMENTAL OVER YOU, followed:
Here’s a rattling good performance of the samba NO MORE BLUES:
Then Ron turned it over to Dan for a melancholy, intense feature on ALL TOO SOON (with James filling in 1940 Ellington band riffs behind him):
And a clarinet extravaganza on the theme of LIMEHOUSE BLUES:
You’ll notice in these videos how much straightforward exploring is going on — both in solos and in ensemble intertwining — not just theme / solo / theme; admire Ron’s nimbleness, Dan’s warmth; James’s witty cubist visions; Gary’s deep pulse; Cenz’s variety of sounds.
To learn more about Ron (he has some fine new compact discs — one of them a solo clarinet recital which I can recommend highly), visit him here. Or catch him live at a gig — even better than watching videos on your computer!