I’ve written before about my new jazz oasis, Casa Mezcal, 88 Orchard Street, which has a Sunday jazz brunch from 1-4 PM with some of my friends (who also happen to be the finest players and singers in New York). So far I’ve been there exactly twice, but it is now my Sunday-afternoon port of call. It is a rare pleasure to see and hear music in daylight, to have interestingly non-formulaic Mexican food, and to encounter a gracious staff. And then there’s good lighting for the videographer who eats my food.
Two Sundays ago, the trio led by string bassist Rob Adkins (a modest, endearing fellow who plays beautifully) was pianist Ehud Asherie and reedman Dan Block, two of my heroes. Ordinarily, the ethereal and always surprising Tamar Korn is in charge (as she was on October 19 — more about that in a future posting) but this afternoon was strictly instrumental, and beautifully so.
Here are five delicacies from that afternoon:
JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS, an early-afternoon romp:
HOW ABOUT YOU? — a song I associate with Judy Garland’s sweet early version. And New York in October has been as warm as it might be in June:
MISTY, which requires a little explanation. Most musicians I know loathe this song or play it with much reluctance. Their reaction has nothing to do with Erroll Garner or with Johnny Mathis, but the song has been pulped by overexposure. Listen, however, to the tender beauty Dan brings to this (after Ehud’s comic interlude ends):
DREAM, that Johnny Mercer classic, is usually taken as a sweet lullaby, but Dan reimagines it (with great flair) at a walking Basie tempo:
SHOE SHINE BOY was my request, since I’d heard Ehud playing the Lester solo as a swing exercise before the first set began:
I may be weary from trying to find parking, and I may get turned around on Delancey Street and have to ask for directions, but I plan to spend my Sunday afternoons at Casa Mezcal until further notice. The music is fresh and lively (and so is the guacamole). See you there!
May your happiness increase!