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Sax Appeal at The Iridium with Jimmy Heath, Javon Jackson, Gary Bartz, and Donald Harrison
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Sax Appeal at The Iridium with Jimmy Heath, Javon Jackson, Gary Bartz, and Donald Harrison

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Sax Appeal at The Iridium
(Event Web Page)

With:
Jimmy Heath, Tenor & Soprano Saxes
Javon Jackson on Tenor Sax
Gary Bartz, Alto & Soprano Saxes
Donald Harrison on Alto Sax
Jeremy Manasia on Piano
David Williams on Bass
McClenty Hunter on Drums

At
The Iridium
1650 Broadway (at 51st St.)
New York, NY 10019
212.582.2121
www.theiridium.com

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 2, 2017


Program:
“Confirmation” by Charlie Parker
“Winter Sleeves” by Jimmy Heath
“’Round Midnight” by Thelonious Monk”
“Bag’s Groove” by Milt Jackson


In a rousing and reverent celebration of the sound and appeal of saxophones, we were treated tonight to four masterful and renowned saxophonists, one 90 years old. Jimmy Heath, of Philadelphia, the middle born of the Heath Brothers, Percy on bass and Tootie on drums, has performed on tenor and soprano saxes with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and Wynton Marsalis. Jimmy won a 2004 NEA Jazz Masters Award. Jimmy Heath is known as a brilliant composer, arranger, and instrumentalist. One of Jimmy’s 1940’s big bands included John Coltrane, while Charlie Parker and Max Roach once sat in, as well. Gary Bartz, of Baltimore, plays both alto and soprano saxes. He has performed with Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, and McCoy Tyner. Gary has recorded more than 40 solo albums, and in 2015 he won the BNY Mellon Jazz Living Legacy Award. Donald Harrison, of New Orleans, plays alto sax. Donald, who played with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, is extremely versatile, having performed and recorded in the genres of African Creole, smooth jazz, classical, hip-hop, and Afro-New Orleans Mardi Gras. Javon Jackson, of Missouri, plays tenor sax. Javon has played with Benny Green and Freddie Hubbard and infuses soul, bop, and funk into his jazz performances.

Tonight’s first set was packed. Backing the four saxophonists were Jeremy Manasia on piano, McClenty Hunter on drums, and David Williams on bass. Charlie Parker’s “Confirmation”, a 1946 bebop standard, has some of the most rambunctious tempos that speed ahead like a wild train. Solos abounded, and Manasia’s piano spotlight drew audience accolades. Echoing, bubbly refrains immediately showcased the astounding, collective talent onstage. But, it was the merging of four saxophones that brought high volume, rhythmic resonance to The Iridium’s enthused fans. Heath’s 1980’s “Winter Sleeves”, inspired by the harmonies of “Autumn Leaves”, had an edgy solo for Javon Jackson, as he buoyantly drove his sax up and down the scale. Gary Bartz’ alto sax solo was sinewy, sultry, and melodic. Soon Jimmy Heath took his own showcased moment, creating the purest tones on tenor sax, with smoothly flowing, tonal waterfalls. Then, as this piece continued on, Donald Harrison brought his alto sax center stage, adding sharp, percussive ornamentations. This moment was one of noir, angular, brassy imagery. Jeremy Manasia, again, drew attention with a sparkling piano solo, but, when the four saxes merged, I noted it was a bristling soul train of sound.

To my pleasant surprise, Jimmy Heath wowed the audience with his soprano sax interpretation of Thelonious Monk’s “’Round Midnight”. The Iridium’s shifting, colored brick backdrop added a moody, bluesy ambiance to the rarified tones. Heath’s sax was mellow and mesmerizing, warm and absorbing. Soon David Williams, on bass, echoed the theme with deeply heartrending strings. As an added surprise, McClenty Hunter turned the rhythm, with his understated drums, to bossa nova. Milt Jackson’s “Bag’s Groove”, the final piece of the set, was rousing, frolicking, and perfect for one more pulsing piano spotlight. This was truly a night of “sax appeal”, and, I should add, rhythmic rapture. Kudos to all seven artists onstage tonight for this truly unique jazz concert.

It should be noted that my friends, Todd Barkan and Ilene Glick, were in the house. Todd was just named 2018 NEA Jazz Master and will receive his award in April. Kudos to Todd for his remarkable career.



Sax Appeal at The Iridium
Jeremy Manasia on Piano
Gary Bartz on Alto Sax
David Williams on Bass
McClenty Hunter on Drums
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Sax Appeal at The Iridium
Jeremy Manasia on Piano
David Williams on Bass
Jimmy Heath on Soprano Sax
McClenty Hunter on Drums
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Sax Appeal at The Iridium
Jeremy Manasia on Piano
Javon Jackson on Tenor Sax
Jimmy Heath on Soprano Sax
David Williams on Bass
Gary Bartz on Alto Sax
McClenty Hunter on Drums
Donald Harrison on Alto Sax
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Todd Barkan and Ilene Glick at The Iridium
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower


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