Wonderful music from a duet session (with noble guest in the second set!) on May 10, 2012 — pianist Ehud Asherie and trumpeter Jon-Erik Kellso at play, brilliantly, at the happy space that is Smalls, 183 West Tenth Street, Greenwich Village, New York City. They made, as they always do, timeless music: you hear echoes of Louis, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Dizzy, and Ruby Braff — but ultimately what they create is heartfelt and so personal.
In honor of the charming bartender (guess her name?), Ehud and Jon-Erik swung into a rendition of MARGIE:
Ehud is a friendly fellow — why else would his fingers turn to a few measures of SOCIAL CALL? — but both players were thinking about the Eternal Feminine, and a deeply felt SWEET LORRAINE was the result. How wonderfully Jon-Erik expresses himself and that familiar melody at once in the opening chorus and then moves deeper. Lovely!
I thought the set might turn thematic — Songs Named for Women (i.e. DIANE, ROSETTA, and so on) but my idle silent guess was wrong; Jon-Erik suggested they talk about the larger metaphysical subject of Knowing and Not-Knowing, with Jimmie Noone as spiritual guide . . . thus, I KNOW THAT YOU KNOW:
Something new for this inspired duo — a 1940 Swing Era favorite recorded by Basie and Duke, THE FIVE O’CLOCK WHISTLE — its theme being the lame explanation of a factory worker who stays out until 2 AM and then tells his wife that he is late because that whistle never blew. Don’t try this one at home! And I keep returning to Ehud’s “Yeah!” at 1:05. Notice that Jon-Erik has a new mute? It’s Spring, you know — a new season for trumpet fashion. But he is the Onlie Begetter of this invention: its main assembly is the top of a metal cocktail shaker with other secret ingredients to create a growly buzz. Call the Patent Office! And while you’re on hold, enjoy this:
And these two Heroes of Swing closed their first set with a tribute to the smiling man in back of them — Mister Strong — with a 1928 composition called HEAR ME TALKIN’ TO YOU. I especially enjoy the trading of phrases near the end:
I hear them talkin’ to us, I say. And there’s another set to come!
May your happiness increase.