No, it’s not a buddy movie or a children’s book. It’s Michael Hashim (saxophones); Spike Wilner (piano); Murray Wall (string bass) in recital at Smalls on West Tenth Street in New York City on September 10, 2013. And the explorations are in the mail gentle, melodic searches — although Michael has such a broad expressive range (from Fifties rhythm and blues to sweet Hodges laments) that any group he is part of is bound to have many identities. Spike is such a splendid shape-shifter himself at the keys: entirely unafraid but totally in love with melodic improvisation; with Murray at the bass, we can all breathe easy — in lovely flexible four-four time, heartbeat-based.
Here are a dozen beauties from that evening.
Perhaps thinking of Ben and Tatum? GONE WITH THE WIND:
Definitely thinking of Ben: it’s his minor blues, POUTIN’:
In honor of Cole Porter, Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and Louis — not always in that order, I LOVE YOU, SAMANTHA:
Definitely in honor of Louis! SOMEDAY YOU’LL BE SORRY:
An unusual and unusually rich Ellington trilogy, beginning with I DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT YOU:
Going back to 1927 for BLACK AND TAN FANTASY:
And the rarely played COP-OUT:
Back to Bing and Hawkins for the lovely 1934 WITH EVERY BREATH I TAKE:
Jobim’s USELESS LANDSCAPE:
Fats’ (and Maurice Waller’s) JITTERBUG WALTZ:
“Bond. James Bond.” The soundtrack to a late-Sixties childhood, GOLDFINGER:
Running diagonally in Manhattan and always swinging, BROADWAY:
What spaciousness! Three melodists on the loose, roaming the galaxy and bringing back treasures of their own making.
May your happiness increase!