FRIENDLY HOT LYRICISM: DUKE HEITGER, DAN BARRETT, DAN BLOCK, ROSSANO SPORTIELLO, PAUL KELLER, DANNY COOTS at the ATLANTA JAZZ PARTY (April 26, 2014)

Duke Heitger — playing or singing — makes special music, lyrical and hot. I’ve had the great privilege to see him in action for ten years now, and he never coasts in on autopilot.  His lip may be worn down after a full day of playing; he may be asked to sing in a key that’s not the right one . . . but he always reaches deep down and creates beautiful music. He did it many times at the 2014 Atlanta Jazz Party, but a special treat was this set, one he led, on Saturday, April 26, 2014.

It didn’t hurt at all that he had wonderful lyrical players alongside him: Dan Barrett, trombone; Dan Block, clarinet / tenor saxophone; Rossano Sportiello, piano; Paul Keller, bass; Danny Coots, drums.

They performed four numbers, each one a beauty of its own singular kind:

The classic ode to sweet summer, JUNE NIGHT:

A surprise! Lester Young’s TICKLE-TOE (one of the highlights of the weekend for me):

A dark sweet exploration of WHEN DAY IS DONE (where Dan Barrett showed at the start that he, too, could play trombone the Bob Havens way):

And a romping New Orleans take on HIGH SOCIETY:

I look forward to encountering Duke again in Cleveland at the September Allegheny Jazz Party and two months later, in Newcastle, England, for the Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party, later that month in New Orleans, for the Steamboat Stomp . . . and in April, the 2015 Atlanta Jazz Party.  He is an inspiring fellow indeed, and he has great musical pals, as you can see here.

May your happiness increase!

6 responses to “FRIENDLY HOT LYRICISM: DUKE HEITGER, DAN BARRETT, DAN BLOCK, ROSSANO SPORTIELLO, PAUL KELLER, DANNY COOTS at the ATLANTA JAZZ PARTY (April 26, 2014)

  1. Don "Zoot" Conner

    Wonderful. Michael. All four are invigorating,but “Tickle toe” steals the show.Dan Block looks a lot like my old friend Al Cohn.

  2. excelente and hyper-hip!, never heard anybody do “June Night” except for Jimmy Rushing

  3. there is nothing like this in the phila. area. superb.

  4. Thank you so much for this oh so enjoyable post, nephew, What a group of amazing musicians!! Heitger is still just as handsome as ever, even if his hair is graying…and what a great brass man!! Thank you NM,,,

  5. john choquette

    Love this group. Having once been a mediocre bass player, I can recognize an exceptional one when I hear one – and that Paul Keller is AWESOME – I wish I could just go someplace and hear him every week. Beautiful lines, tones, accuracy on the strings. He looks like some kind of blonde “Buddha” – so laid back – so “in command” of himself and the instrument. So attentive to the others ! Do these people really know what they have ?

  6. Paul is much loved by his colleagues, I know.

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