A good band is not hard to find in New York City. One of the places I rely on is Fraunces Tavern at 54 Pearl Street for their Saturday jazz brunch (1-4) usually led by Emily Asher with her delightful small band that is the Garden Party Quartet. Emily was on the road on May 7, 2016, but the joy continued unabated.
String bassist and band-wizard Rob Adkins assembled a wonderfully melodic quartet: himself, Chris Flory, guitar; Dan Block, clarinet and tenor saxophone; Evan Arntzen, clarinet and alto. Oh, did they fill the room with good sounds!
Of course, fault-finding viewers will note that people are talking, eating, drinking, and moving, that the room is busy, but busy-ness keeps the Tavern able to pay for live music. Without being too acrid, I say quietly that people who choose only to sit in front of their computers when there is live music to be had make it hard for musicians to survive. To quote Arthur Miller, “Attention must be paid.”
On to happier matters. This little ad-hoc band is not only composed of four wonderful soloists, but these players know the sacred value of ensemble playing — so lines intertwine, there’s counterpoint, riffs, backgrounds: all the collective joy one could ever hear.
I present these performances in the order they happened, as is my habit. I think they are each small complete masterpieces, to be savored rather than gobbled. I hope you agree. There’s more to come.
THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE:
Please find a way to support the music if you want it to continue. That means going to a place where it is played, purchasing food and drink there, putting money in the tip jar, buying a CD from a musician . . . active rather than passive. Very little is actually free in this world, the title of the third song notwithstanding. And as a final irony, the people in this scene who are sitting at the bar, talking and drinking whiskey, are doing more by their presence to support the music they are ignoring than the most devoted “jazz fan” who lives solely off the Hot Internet.
May your happiness increase!