It happened; I was there; it was superb.
Jon De Lucia, saxophonist, composer, arranger, archivist, brought together five saxophonists (including himself) and rhythm to play arrangements by Bill Holman, Gerry Mulligan, members of the early Dave Brubeck Octet, Jimmy Giuffre, and others. The reed players — from left — are Jay Rattman, John Ludlow, Jon, Marc Schwartz, Andrew Hadro; the rhythm is Ray Gallon, Fender Rhodes, Aidan O’Donnell, string bass; Steve Little, drums (playing on a borrowed set). All this took place on February 6, 2017, at Sir D’s Lounge in Brooklyn, New York — on the surface of it, an odd place for a jazz recital, but a comfortable room with very gracious staff.
Here is the first half of the evening, a generous helping of delicious sounds.
I know that some listeners still stereotype this music as “cool” or “cerebral,” but these performances definitely swing and the temperature is warm. Remember that the inspiration for so much of this music came from Lester Young: how chill could it be? And Jon’s leadership is very comfortable — see how happy the players are — and that pleasure conveys itself right away to the audience, with no hint of the classroom or the museum. I told someone at the end of the evening that I felt I’d been at a birthday party.
To begin, DISC JOCKEY JUMP (or DJ JUMP), composed by Gerry Mulligan for the Gene Krupa Orchestra, arranged in this version by Bill Holman:
The beautifully gauzy PALO ALTO, composed by Lee Konitz and arranged by Jimmy Giuffre:
VENUS DI MILO, which is most familiar from the Birth of the Cool sessions, although in a different arrangement:
The classic THE SONG IS YOU:
The Gershwins’ LOVE WALKED IN, via Dave Brubeck:
The eternal question, WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED LOVE?
Gerry Mulligan’s REVELATION, which concluded the first half:
May your happiness increase!