This morning the wind chill was minus-four. I don’t dare think about the economy. So news of a new jazz gig is very exciting. This scoop comes to us from Marianne Mangan, one of this blog’s two roving correspondents:
“Next week the Greenwich Village Bistro (212.206.9777) will host clarinetist Sam Parkins and pianist Pete Sokolow twice in two days. In addition to their Wednesday 12:30 – 2:00 lunch gig with Jim Collier’s Gotham Jazzmen (also featuring Peter Ecklund), Sam and Pete will be appearing on Tuesday night, December 30th, with Ronnie Washam and Friends — the other friend being bassist Dave Winograd. Fans of the Cajun will remember Ronnie as a first-rate vocalist, lovely of tone with an unfailing connection to both the music and the meaning of a song. This foursome has appeared at the GVB already and it’s said that even the young waitstaff knew enough to pay attention to their music.
This may be the start of an every-other-week engagement, but Tuesday, December 30th at 9:00 is a good time to start making it a habit. The Greenwich Village Bistro is at 13 Carmine Street, between Sixth Avenue and Bleecker Street.”
Readers who remember the fabled Cajun (between 16th and 17th Streets on Eighth Avenue) before it was eaten by “progress” in 2006 will remember Pete Sokolow, enthusiastically swinging with a thunderous left hand, Leroy “Sam” Parkins, a wonderfully hedonistic clarinetist, and Ronnie Washam, “The Chelsea Nightingale,” who sang with drummer Bob Thompson’s Red Onion Jazz Band. Pete can do a hilarious version of Fats’s “Your Feets Too Big” in Yiddish and drive a band with authentic stride piano; Sam is a deep musician, whose blues come from inside. And Ronnie. Her favorite singers are Lee Wiley and Ella Logan, and she honors them. Not, mind you, by imitating them, but by getting inside a song as they did.
Jazz musicians, these days, have their own CDs that they bring to the gig. But Ronnie has a new one — LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME — recorded with a wonderful little combo (Simon Wettenhall, trumpet; Pete Martinez, clarinet; Hank Ross, piano; Conal Fowkes, bass; Bob Thompson; drums). She comes through whole from the first note, and her colleagues are especially receptive. You could call 212.243.7235 for ordering information — or, better yet, you could buy one at the gig. Don your down coat, go downtown, and prepare to have your spirits lifted!