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Les Paul Mondays with Jim Hall's Quartet and The Les Paul Trio
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Les Paul Mondays with Jim Hall's Quartet and The Les Paul Trio

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Les Paul Mondays
Jim Hall on Guitar
Steve Laspina on Bass
Bill Stewart on Drums
Greg Osby on Tenor Sax
The Les Paul Trio
Lou Pallo, Guitar
Nicki Parrott, Bass
John Colianni, Piano

Iridium Jazz Club
Scott Barbarino, Manager
1650 Broadway, Corner of 51st St, NYC

Media: Matt Merewitz:

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 10, 2011

It had been a few years since I last saw the Les Paul Trio, and, then, Les Paul was alive and his unpredictable self. So tonight I looked forward to seeing his Trio on its own, as part of the Iridium Jazz Club’s Les Paul Mondays, continuing Les’ Monday night music tradition. I caught two sets, which were shared with the Jim Hall Quartet, so it was like a four-set evening, really quite special.

In Set I, with NEA Jazz Master Jim Hall on guitar, and no amplification, the audience focused intently on Hall’s clear, easygoing theme. He had already endeared his longtime fans with his introductory, “great to be here….great to be anywhere.” His tempo was skipping, with melodic refrains, before he joined Steve Laspina for a bass-guitar duo. Laspina took a solo riff with slight flourishes, but the music was whisper-soft. A ballad followed, with sophisticated meandering and a sensual contemporary sound. Greg Osby, on tenor sax, not only plays well, but lights up the stage with attractive presence. His riffs were breezy and exceptional. “St. Thomas” was next with a calibrated calypso beat, thanks to Bill Stewart on drums. Osby’s syncopated sax built the momentum, with Stewart’s drums in the finale.

In Set II, Jim Hall’s quartet was more energized, and the rich, luminous tones echoed elements of the sunny theme. A slow “midnight” refrain merged the instruments. “Chelsea Bridge” by Billy Strayhorn, was presented with ambient, absorbing atmospherics, sultry and groovy. “My Funny Valentine” quickly changed the mood, with Hall’s slow, understated arrangement and Osby’s added textures. Hall's "Careful", a 16-bar blues piece, reverberated throughout the Club with the Jazz Master's scintillating solos.

The Les Paul Trio brought out the rambunctious Americana music that Les Paul, himself, showcased so extraordinarily for many decades. Set I opened with “All of Me”, and Lou Pallo was sensational on his personalized Gibson guitar, that he said Les Paul had named just for him. John Colianni, on piano, one of the finest musicians in this genre, tore up the keyboard with scintillating tunefulness. “Blue Skies”, a Les Paul signature song, was especially effervescent with Nicki Parrot on vivacious bass. She’s as classy as ever, and the chemistry of the trio is truly seasoned. The danceable theme was followed by St. Louis Blues”, and Ms. Parrott sang up a storm, a vocalist with verve. “East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)” featured Ms. Parrott on scat, followed by “How High the Moon”. These mesmerizing melodies made me think of many more Les Paul Mondays, as the music was so transporting.

Set II opened with “The Lady Is a Tramp” and “Begin the Beguine”, featuring John Colianni on rapid piano waterfalls of richly rhythmic themes, as well as Lou Pallo on rambunctious riffs. Nicki Parrott took “When I Grow Too Old to Dream” with her warm, honey-smooth vocals and her earthy bass. “Blue Skies” once again enveloped the Club, as Lou Pallo told their fans that he was playing the original Frank Sinatra vocals. What a night!

Jim Hall on Guitar
Courtesy of Marco Losavio

Bill Stewart on Drums
Courtesy of Marco Losavio

Jim Hall and Steve Laspina on Bass
Courtesy of Marco Losavio

Jim Hall, Steve Laspina,
Bill Stewart, and Greg Osby on Sax
Courtesy of Marco Losavio

Bill Stewart and Greg Osby
Courtesy of Marco Losavio

Greg Osby on Tenor Sax
Courtesy of Marco Losavio

Nicki Parrott on Bass and Vocals
Courtesy of Marco Losavio

Lou Pallo on Gibson Guitar
and Nicki Parrott
Courtesy of Marco Losavio

Lou Pallo on Gibson Guitar
Courtesy of Marco Losavio

Lou Pallo and Nicki Parrott
Courtesy of Marco Losavio

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at