Notes from the JAZZ LIVES editorial board. I originally posted this video and created this blog in November 2016, and some logistical considerations interfered, so it went into the darkness. But now it pokes its sweet head up again into the light and like happiness, it will not be denied.
The United States Constitution, I remember, offers its citizens the promise of “the pursuit of happiness.” Happiness can be quite elusive, but occasionally it slows down long enough for us to get a sniff, a taste.
I present to you five earnest, gifted artists who are in pursuit as well as expertly embodying it.
All of this — improvisations on a venerable Vincent Youmans song — took place on April 9, 2016, at the Rathaus in Westoverledingen, Germany — cozy and sweet — under the benignly serious aegis of Manfred Selchow: concert impresario, jazz scholar, and friend of three decades. The artists I refer to are Engelbert Wrobel, tenor saxophone; Stephanie Trick and Paolo Alderighi, piano and hijinks; Nicki Parrott, string bass; Bernard Flegar, drums.
And without consciously choosing to copy, to reproduce, these five players summon up the joyous swing of the Lester Young recordings in the early Forties: the trio with Nat Cole and Buddy Rich; the quartet with Sidney Catlett, Slam Stewart, Johnny Guarnieri.
More to come. And a special postscript. I’ve video-recorded Paolo, Stephanie, Nicki in varied settings and they are heroes to me. Angel (that’s what his friends call Engelbert) I’ve only captured once before, on his visit to New York at The Ear Inn. But this was my first opportunity to see as well as hear the youthful Master Bernard Flegar. Does he not swing? I ask you!
May your happiness increase!