Tag Archives: TENOR MADNESS

THE SWEET POISE OF “TENOR MADNESS”

Here are four more performances from one of the best chamber-jazz groups you’ll ever hear — TENOR MADNESS — not a nod to Sonny Rollins’ famous session, but an acknowledgment of the two electric tenor guitars (four-string marvels) in this trio.  Hanna Richardson, that fine singer, is in charge of one; Tom Bronzetti masterfully handles the other; the eloquent bassist Phil Flanigan holds it all together.  Here they are at a cozy concert recorded in November 2009.  Note their gently propulsive rocking motion, their delicacy, the speaking voices of the three instruments, and Hanna’s casual, sly, feeling way with lyrics and melody.  And their quotes from other songs are nimbly hilarious, their harmionies deep (hear what they do on WRAP YOUR TROUBLES IN DREAMS, for one):

And how nicely they handle the sly twists (melody and lyrics) of the imperishable James P. Johnson – Andy Razaf A PORTER’S LOVE SONG TO A CHAMBERMAID, which expresses truest devotion in down-to-earth domestic terms:

(The group apologizes for a few missing measures about three minutes in, due to a camera malfunction . . . I hardly noticed.)

Three variations on the subject of Amour — first, HOW’D YOU LIKE TO LOVE ME?:

Then, an even more insistent Twenties summons, on the theme of “Shut up and kiss me!” — DO SOMETHING (updated in this performance to an eager rock reminiscent of the Nat Cole trio):

And finally, there’s fulfillment in THE LADY’S IN LOVE WITH YOU:

See and hear more about Tenor Madness at http://www.myspace.com/tenorguitarmadness.  Wow!

COPYRIGHT, MICHAEL STEINMAN AND JAZZ LIVES, 2010
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TENOR MADNESS (Hanna, Phil, and Tom)

If you saw the title and assumed that this was a Sonny Rollins tribute band, get that thought right out of your head.  As much as I admire Rollins, the tenor saxophone is sufficiently well-established in jazz so that it doesn’t need the extra publicity.

No, TENOR MADNESS looks like this:TENOR MADNESS

I’m only sorry that the picture is bite-sized, for it captures Phil Flanigan, heroic bassist, his wife Hanna Richardson, a wonderfully unaffected yet hip singer (and tenor guitarist), and Tom Bronzetti (also on tenor guitar).  Oh, say can they swing! 

They have a MySpace page, where you can hear them and see where they are playing next: http://www.myspace.com/tenorguitarmadness

I’ve been an admirer of Hanna and Phil’s for some years now, ever since I was asked to review their first CD (on the LaLa label) for the late lamented Mississippi Rag — I became a fan as well as a convert to their insouciant swing.  Jazz party producers, are you paying attention?  This trio is compact yet their swinging music pours out generously.  And they don’t care if the piano in your living room is out of tune.  I predict great things!