A lovely night at XRIJF! I began the night at the 6:00 pm show at the Club Pass Tent. It was the Bill Tiberio Band - Bill Tiberio, Scott Bradley, Joe Chiappone, Phil Lake and Geoff Smith. The guys were hot, hot, hot! Everything sounded great, from the Scott Bradley originals to covers of a Stevie Wonder tune and Watchin' the River Flow. Everyone was ON! The tent was packed! They had a great crowd - old friends and new fans. And not only did they sound great, they looked like they were having fun - and that makes for an awesome vibe.
Next up was John Pizzarelli along with the Woody Herman Orchestra. Wow! All I can say is, I'm pretty sure I was born in the wrong era. Loved the big band music, loved the Ellington, Sinatra. All the musicians were top-notch, and Joe noticed that one of the sax players was an old professor of his from Miami. Gary Lindsay, also a member of Miami Sax Quartet, was one of Joe's mentors when he was in music school in Miami.
I loved John Pizzarelli's choice of songs, and he had a great voice for them; he is a talented musician - really can play the guitar. The orchestra was excellent, and it was totally fun. As far as I'm concerned, they could have played another hour, and I wouldn't have been tired of it. My only complaint was that John's vocals could have been louder. Quite often, he was drowned out by the orchestra.
As much as I loved the big band sound, I would love to see him again with just his pianist, his drummer, and his brother, the bass player, in a smaller venue. In fact, just John and his guitar would be awesome.
Wishing I could be in two places at once tonight, and doubting that I'll get down to the scene in time to see both, my choices for tonight would be Joe Locke and Nils Landgren Funk Unit. I'd also like to see Get the Blessing.
This iteration of XRIJF has seen me picking and choosing very carefully as my time has been more limited than I'd expected. In the past, I've almost felt an obligation to see as much as possible, and it very much began to feel like a job. That has not been my feeling this time. That's due, in part, to the great stuff I saw early on that made it feel like whatever else I saw was just gravy.
Serve me up that gravy.
yours in music,