Tag Archives: Widespread Jazz Orchestra

SATURDAY AT SMALLS WITH TAD SHULL (March 26, 2011)

I just found out that the fine tenor saxophonist Tad Shull will be leading a quartet including pianist Rob Schneidermann at Smalls Jazz Club this coming Saturday, March 26, 2011 — from 7:30 to 9:45.  Admission is $20, and for that you can stay until the single digit-hours of the morning and hear truly intriguing groups and jam sessions.  (Smalls — at 183 West 10th Street in Greenwich Village — has a wonderfully-stocked bar and a resident Maine Coon Cat, Minnow, with her own aesthetic standards.)

Tad is one of those young men and women who took New York over — with swing — a few years back: he performed and recorded with the Widespread Depression Orchestra (later, the Widespread Jazz Orchestra) and made some very impressive CDs under his own name.  Although it’s clear he’s absorbed the whole jazz tenor tradition, he’s no one’s clone: you won’t hear a phrase in his playing and think, “Wow, that comes right from Forties Ben or Sixties Dexter.”  Whether floating along behind the beat or playing vigorously, intensely, he makes his own beautiful shapes.

Here’s my own little bit of praise for Mister Tad — he was part of the EarRegulars on Jan. 23, 2011 (with Jon-Erik Kellso, Matt Munisteri, and Neal Miner): they rocked ROSE ROOM at The Ear Inn:

Since Tad is not one of those musicians who pops up all over town on a regular basis, why not make a point of stopping by?

MOTHER’S NIGHT AT THE EAR INN (May 9, 2010)

Does Mother’s Day come to a halt at 6 PM?  Obviously not at The Ear Inn, the last place I’d expect to find observance of such synthetic “holidays.” 

The Ear Regulars showed up last Sunday night fully prepared to do honor to dear old Mom.  Co-founders Jon-Erik Kellso and Matt Munisteri were there with bassist Pat O’Leary and a new face — Ohio trombonist Jim Masters, who’s done time in the Buddy Rich band and (more serenely, I’d wager) in the Widespread Jazz Orchestra alongside such New York stalwarts as Michael Hashim and Jordan Sandke.  Jim played beautifully, suggesting a modern combination of Urbie Green and Vic Dickenson, a lovely mixture. 

To the music:

The holiday brought up the idea that the members of the ensemble had once been newborns, thus suggesting I FOUND A NEW BABY.  (What the subliminal connection to other songs played that night, I NEVER KNEW, and JUST LIKE THAT, might be, I leave to readers):

Later, the much-hoped for second-set jam session developed: Chris Flory sat in for Matt, and Dan Block unsheathed his mighty alto saxophone for a sweet IT’S THE TALK OF THE TOWN:

And they continued with PLEASE DON’T TALK ABOUT ME WHEN I’M GONE:

Mother’s Night at The Ear concluded with a sweet paean to pastoral life by Jon-Erik, Matt, Jim, and Pat: LAZY RIVER:

As Louis would say, “Oh, mama!”

P.S.  I was seated at the bar between two fascinating individuals: to my right, the jazz photographer John Rogers, whose work you’ve seen in a variety of places (http://johnrogersnyc.com/about.html) .  To my left, a visitor from the UK — boppish trumpeter by night / sociology professor by day John Macnicol.  An entertaining pair to sit between!  And deep in The Ear, banjoist / singer / composer Eddy Davis held court at the bar, grinning and listening intently.   

And they (unlike some of our younger colleagues) didn’t feel it necessary to talk over the music . . . or to talk through it and then yelp “Woohoo” at the end of a performance they had heard little of.  Alas.  The music prevails, of course.