When Emily Asher announced a last-minute gig at Radegast, that cheerful Bierhalle in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, last Tuesday, I was eager to go. Three-quarters of the group was familiar to me — people / players I admire: Emily herself on trombone and vocal; Rob Adkins on string bass; Nick Russo on guitar and banjo. What added to the allure was the fourth member: trombonist Shannon Barnett, someone I didn’t think I knew. So . . . two trombones plus rocking rhythm. How could I be blue?
When I arrived at Radegast — and was directed to the back room, which is quiet and cozy — I met Shannon once again. Once again because we had encountered each other at the Home of Happy Ears (326 Spring Street) one Sunday night. After the band set up and played two numbers, I stepped forward and said to the front line, “Forgive me for getting in the way, but this isn’t just a session. This is A BAND!” They were obviously feeling the congenial vibrations too. The two trombonist heroines (from the States and from Australia) had never played together before; the music they made reinforces the idea of a swinging common language.
Both Emily and Shannon not only play but sing, so you will hear some charming, assured vocalizing. And I know they will have a wide repertoire — larger than these familiar tunes. There was talk of Jay and Kai compositions / arrangements. I’m looking forward to their next gig.
The only thing this band lacks is a NAME — I made some suggestions, which were met with kind amused attentiveness — but I am sure that the four inventive players will think of one that is both apt and witty. For now, just enjoy! Nick Russo swung things along as he always does, although his cap was more wintry than usual; Rob Adkins was playing his new string bass — with beautiful sound, fitting for such a thoughtful, swinging player.
SOME OF THESE DAYS:
WHEN I GROW TOO OLD TO DREAM:
ROYAL GARDEN BLUES:
Both Emily and Shannon have websites — you can check them out on the JAZZ LIVES blogroll. And I know you’ll want to be on hand when this band — a precocious one for sure — turns one, two . . .
May your happiness increase.