Two Sundays ago, October 26, I took my little pal Flip downtown to document the musical happiness at Sweet Rhythm, where Jon-Erik Kellso and Friends were starting a new gig. Jon-Erik was in fine happy form with Chuck Wilson on alto, Ehud Asherie on piano, Kelly Friesen on bass, and a surprise — Andy Swann on drums.
Why a surprise?
Well, I hope that readers know, applaud, and admire Jon-Erik, Ehud, and Kelly by now, and Chuck has been a standout at Jazz at Chautauqua as well as in the fabled ABQ (Alden-Barrett Quartet). I had never met Andy, but his name rang a bell: as one of the uniquely hot Australians, he has graced a number of Bob Barnard’s jazz parties, and his swinging work has lifted sessions you can hear on the long series of Nif Nuf CDs. He is thoughtful and hot; he gets a variety of sounds out of his set, with brushwork that reminds me of Denzil Best (a great compliment). This was a wonderful quartet before he joined them — Ehud and Kelly meshed like ideal partners, as did Jon-Erik and Chuck. But Andy’s drums added something special.
Here, for your listening and dancing pleasure, is a wondrous version of THERE’LL BE SOME CHANGES MADE, a song chosen for its swinging persistence as well as its barely-concealed political implications. Condon and McKenzie didn’t have Election Day on their minds in the OKeh studios in 1927, but some of us do. Whatever your political persuasion, though, this is the kind of change (and changes) we all can approve of.
Sweet Rhythm, to remind everyone, is a small friendly nook of a club at 88 Seventh Avenue South between Grove and Bleecker (on the east side of the street): check out http://www.sweetrhythmny.com. for details. I hope to be there next Sunday, with Jon-Erik and his friends. See you there! A $10 cover takes care of everything.
A postscript: Jon-Erik, Ehud, Kelly, and Andy swung out last Sunday, with Will Anderson (of Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks) on reeds — with a variety of sitters-in. I wasn’t there, but my spies tell me that the music was splendid.