Tag Archives: Hotel Kitano

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!: TED BROWN / MICHAEL KANAN / MURRAY WALL / TARO OKAMOTO: Hotel Kitano, Jan. 12, 2011

This posting came about because at JAZZ LIVES, we take our mission seriously.  And when a trusted reader wrote in just an hour ago to say, “I was at Ted’s gig at the Kitano — it was one of the great evenings of jazz I remember.  Do you think you could post another couple of the swinging tracks?  He swung that night!”

Nothing simpler.  With pleasure!

FEATHER BED (on YOU’D BE SO NICE TO COME HOME TO):

LULLABY OF THE LEAVES:

Thank you, dear reader, and dear gentlemen of the ensemble.

SWING OUT WITH GENEROSITIES: CLICK HERE!

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PRETTY / DEEP (Ted Brown, Michael Kanan, Murray Wall, Taro Okamoto: Kitano, Jan. 12, 2011)

“Can you sing me a song?” asked Lester Young.

Ted Brown (tenor), Michael Kanan (piano), Murray Wall (bass), and Taro Okamoto (drums) proved that they knew how — masterfully.  Here are three ballad performances from Ted’s appearance at the Hotel Kitano — his first New York gig as a leader in forty years, if I remember correctly — where everyone is singing.

HOW DEEP IS THE OCEAN?

GONE WITH THE WIND:

and (my idea of a poignant masterpiece) a tenor-piano duet on PRISONER OF LOVE, recalling not only Russ Columbo and Perry Como but Lester Young, Teddy Wilson, Gene Ramey, and Jo Jones one peerless day in 1956:

Especially on the last performance, the deep feeling is almost too much to bear: Ted’s narrow tone, his hesitant, halting approach to the melody is the sound of a man reaching deep into his heart for his emotions.  And Michael’s piano is the pure expression of knowing love: your best friend and truest comrade at the keyboard, saying, “It’s all good.  Go on, tell me more!”  (My sources tell me that Michael will be playing a solo gig at Smalls on March 31, and will be working with my hero Joel Press on May 13 . . . mark those calendars!)

Incidentally, the shouts of delight that seem to emanate from behind my camera are coming from another deep place: rare pianist Pete Malniverni was behind me, reveling in the beauties being created, especially by his pal Kanan.

And we can’t forget Murray Wall, eloquent melodist, and Taro Okamoto, master of listening propulsion.  Thanks also go to Gino Moratti — gruff but generous — for allowing me to videorecord this session and for keeping the patrons in a properly reverent hush.

Pretty.  Deep.

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PAY ATTENTION: TED BROWN RETURNS! (Jan. 12, 2011)

Mark your calendars: saxophonist Ted Brown will be playing his first official New York gig in thirty years this coming January 12th at the Kitano Hotel — with a congenial rhythm section of Michael Kanan, piano; Murray Wall, bass, and Taro Okamoto, drums.  

In the late 1940s, Ted Brown, Warne Marsh, and Lee Konitz were among the first students of jazz innovator Lennie Tristano.  And Brown continues to evoke the spirit of Lester Young — as he did when I saw him play alongside Joel Press and Michael Kanan at the end of June 2010.  Here are Ted, Joel, Michael, Neal Kanan, and Joe Hunt exploring ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE at Sofia’s Ristorante (Ted is wearing the red shirt, if you don’t know him by sight or sound):

Brown has performed and recorded with Tristano, Marsh, Konitz, Art Pepper, Kenny Clarke, Art Taylor, Jimmy Giuffre, Jimmy Raney, and many others.  His best-known recordings are probably JAZZ OF TWO CITIES with Marsh and FIGURE AND SPIRIT with Konitz.  (Both also feature Brown’s own compositions.)

Brown’s more recent years have often been lean: he has worked as a computer programmer.  But even when not performing regularly, he continued to practice at home and play private jam sessions.  His sound has retained its purity, warmth, and intimacy.  Perhaps he’s even grown as artist; certainly he is playing just as strong as on his classic recordings.

Supporting Brown at the Kitano are players connected to both the Tristano universe and serious swing:

Michael Kanan (piano) studied with Tristano-disciples Harvey Diamond and Sal Mosca.  He was a member of the International Hashva Orchestra (Mark Turner, Nat Su, Jorge Rossy) which explored original Tristano/Marsh/Konitz repertoire.  Kanan appears on Kurt Rosenwinkel’s INTUIT and has had long term associations with Jimmy Scott and Jane Monheit.

Murray Wall (bass) has performed Clark Terry, Benny Goodman, Buck Clayton, Ken Peplowski, Jon Hendricks, Marty Grosz, Annie Ross, Billy Eckstine, the EarRegulars, Michael Bank, and Mel Torme.  And upon arriving in New York from Australia in the 1970ss, he also  studied with Tristano.

Taro Okamoto (drums) has performed with Sal Mosca, Warne Marsh, Hank Jones and Sadik Hakim.  He was also an assistant to Elvin Jones. Most importantly for this gig, Wall and Okamoto have been playing together for 30 years!

The Kitano Hotel: 66 Park Avenue at 38th Street, NYC.  Sets at 8:00 and 10:00.  No cover charge, $15 minimum good for food or drink.  Reservations recommended: 212-885-7119.  http://www.kitano.com.

P.S.  I saw Ehud Asherie and Harry Allen at the Kitano this summer.  There’s a first-rate piano and they make a fine mojito!  Look for me — in between sets, of course: I’ll be the person intently looking through a viewfinder.