It’s been a true privilege to hear, converse with, and video-record the inventive and durable saxophonist Joel Press for the last five years (and since I met Michael Kanan through Joel, it has been a double blessing). Of course, the person behind all of this was the irreplaceable Robert D. Rusch of CADENCE, a true benefactor.
Joel was most recently playing a gig in New York City on July 3, 2016, at Smalls — with a quartet of Michael, piano; Lee Hudson, string bass; Fukushi Tanaka, drums.
Here are five evocative performances from that evening: GONE WITH THE WIND, SOFTLY AS IN A MORNING SUNRISE, FOOLIN’ MYSELF, NOSTALGIA, and YOU DO SOMETHING TO ME.
And — by popular demand — four more delights: BLUES, WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED LOVE?. BODY AND SOUL, IT’S YOU OR NO ONE. Please note that every note has substance and emotional meaning, and the quartet makes even the most familiar line or standard seem lively and poignant.
WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED LOVE?:
BODY AND SOUL:
IT’S YOU OR NO ONE:
Thank you, Joel, Michael, Lee, Fukushi, and Smalls. We are in your debt.
May your happiness increase!