An ideal evening in New York — or anywhere else — with the brilliant pianist / composer Ehud Asherie and his expert friends, David Wong, string bass; Aaron Kimmel, drums. This mini-concert took place at Jazz at the Kitano on March 4, 2015.
Songhounds will notice that Ehud currently draws much of his inspiration from songs written before 1945, but that his approach is wide-ranging, “modern” yet lyrical and deeply respectful of the original inspirations. He can offer a lovely classical tribute to a jazz set-piece (as in the deliriously fine Waller interlude below) but he is not only a conservator of traditions.
Ehud never reduces a song to a stark harmonic formula; rather, he opens its doors and plays around inside and outside of it. The trio swings assertively but cheerfully; this is endearing and engaging music.
A well-deserved nod to Fred and Ginger and those glorious films, LET’S FACE THE MUSIC AND DANCE:
A whimsically titled but emotionally kind original, THE WELL-EDUCATED MOTH (Ehud explains it all):
The very tender Eubie Blake – Noble Sissle love ballad in swingtime, A DOLLAR FOR A DIME:
For this, our tour guides are Kenny Davern, Dick Wellstood, Duke Ellington, and [stowing away in the hold] James P. Johnson — the accurately titled FAST AS A BASTARD:
Ehud’s Brazilian souvenir, SAMBA DE GRINGO:
His brilliant solo excursion into the Land O’Waller, AFRICAN RIPPLES / VIPER’S DRAG:
Who remembers Vincent Youmans? Ehud does: FLYING DOWN TO RIO:
The Ralph Rainger / Leo Robin THANKS FOR THE MEMORY is most often played at an appropriately mournful tempo, but Ehud gives it a kind of jaunty wave as he and the trio say “Bye now!”:
And we come back to Berlin and Astaire for TOP HAT, WHITE TIE AND TAILS:
Jazz at the Kitano happens regularly in a comfortable space in the Kitano Hotel (66 Park Avenue in New York City) — worth the trip!
Thanks to Ehud, David, Aaron, our friend Maggie Condon, and the durable Gino Moratti, who helps good things like this to happen — always.
May your happiness increase!