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Todd Barkan’s Keystone Korner Nights Presents the Elio Villafranca Quartet with Terell Stafford at Iridium
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Todd Barkan’s Keystone Korner Nights Presents the Elio Villafranca Quartet with Terell Stafford at Iridium

- Jazz and Cabaret Corner


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Todd Barkan’s
Keystone Korner Nights
Presents:

Elio Villafranca Quartet
www.eliovillafranca.net

With: Terell Stafford
www.terellstafford.com

Featuring:
Elio Villafranca on Piano
Terell Stafford on Trumpet
Gregg August on Bass
Ulysses Owens, Jr. on Drums

At
Iridium
Todd Barkan: Keystone Korner Nights Producer & Host
www.toddbarkan.com

1650 Broadway, Corner of 51st St, NYC
212.582.2121
www.theiridium.com
Chelsea Johnson, Operations Manager

Scott Thompson Public Relations

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
July 14, 2013


Click Here to Read a Review of Keystone Korner: Portrait of a Jazz Club

In the heat of July, On Bastille Day night, Elio Villafranca, a Cuban pianist with exuberant energy, brought his quartet to Iridium’s Keystone Korner Nights, produced and hosted by Todd Barkan. Joining Elio onstage were Terell Stafford, trumpet maestro, Gregg August on bass, and Ulysses Owens, Jr., on drums. Terell has been reviewed many times on this column, and he went totally wild on brass more than once tonight. The quartet’s opening piece was Elio’s “The Night in Isla Negra”. Terell wowed the crowd with his trumpet morphing into a tempestuous train, with Elio echoing on piano chords. Ulysses kept the rhythm rambunctious, but steady, while Elio added a clavé beat. Terell stepped offstage when others played solo, a generous gesture, and the crowd knew this set would be compelling and charged. Notes rolled like waves. This lively music was fused with Cuban improvisations and ornamentations. Gregg August took the next riff, with Latin tempos from drums and piano.

In “Illustration with a Transcendent Heart”, by Elio, Terell’s trumpet solo set the lovely mood, and then the band kicked it up a notch for an early percussion solo. Elio built momentum with enchanting undulations and exotic harmonies. Middle Eastern tones seemed tucked in. Terell exuded flair and mastery, as his clear, luxuriant trumpet filled the club with sensational sound. This Villafranca-Stafford duo must be heard again soon. Elio dedicated the next piece to the family of Trayvon Martin, a major story in the news. This sad, amorphous song had a deeply layered theme, with mournful yearning on bass strings. From where I sat, it seemed that Terell switched to flugelhorn, but I could not be sure. What I am sure of, is that Elio’s composition will be eventually named and heard for years to come. A beautiful piano passage was rapturous and resonant, soft and serene.

“The Source In Between”, also by Elio, was introduced by Ulysses Owens on drums, building in crashing vibrations, as Elio toned down the piano. At this point, Terell went into an other-wordly realm, inspiring keyboard fever, and the theme was synthesized into a torrent of tonality. The drums grabbed the group’s electricity, as Elio added a few repetitive notes. An image of Afro-Caribbean dance dervish seemed to fit the moment. “Blues for Paola” was composed by Elio for his mother, and I heard some New Orleans styled jazz for the first time tonight. Terell took the Basin Street harmonies to an outdoor sound, within this indoor, intimate setting, before Elio brought it down a notch with loving poignancy. The final piece of this first set was Elio’s “The Great Debater”, a wink to the Obama-Romney debates. It was obvious from Elio Villafranca’s asides to the audience that he possesses a social conscience, in addition to his extraordinary talent. This politically inspired tune opened with Terell’s trumpet and then took us on a ride down Elio’s 88 keys. Kudos to all.



The Elio Villafranca Quartet
at Iridium
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Elio Villafranca on Piano
Gregg August on Bass
Terell Stafford on Trumpet
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Gregg August on Bass
Terell Stafford on Trumpet
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Elio Villafranca on Piano
Gregg August on Bass
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Terell Stafford at Leisure
Ulysses Owens Jr. on Drums
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Gregg August on Bass
Terell Stafford on Trumpet
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



The Elio Villafranca Quartet
at Leisure after the Set.
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net