John Handy Legendary Monterey Quintet
(John Handy Website)
John Handy on Alto Saxophone
Rob Thomas on Violin
Terry Clarke on Drums
Don Thompson on Bass and Piano
Jerry Hahn on Guitar
Frederick P. Rose Hall
Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola
After Hours Set
Broadway at 60th Street
(Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola Website)
Todd Barkan, Host
Scott Thompson, Press
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 28, 2005
This legendary quintet, with John Handy on alto sax, Rob Thomas on violin, Don Thompson on bass plus piano, Terry Clarke on drums, and Jerry Hahn on guitar presented a very smooth set tonight, complete with guest vocalist and a few anecdotes from Handy, as well. The fused jazz and be-bop, with ballads and contemporary sounds at once, was performed with an outstanding ensemble of seasoned talent. You knew from the moment they began playing that you were in for a rare treat of authentic, professional jazz. In fact, Thomas reminded me occasionally of the late Noel Pointer’s stylized jazz violin, and Don Thompson’s doubling on bass and piano was a feat to be seen.
Handy’s early, sophisticated solo, a Capella, slid up and down the scale, returning to a ballad, while Thompson switched instruments, as abstract jazz returned to a melodic structure. Thompson possesses superb piano skills with seamless keyboard interpretations. Hahn’s solo wound around My One and Only Love. A guest vocalist, Kitty Margolis, sang scat conversations with Handy, her former student, including a rendition of I Cover the Waterfront, a song better sung by Giacomo Gates two nights earlier. In fact, there seemed little need of this grandstanding vocalist onstage, with such a renowned jazz quintet in performance, whom the audience came to hear, not as background, but as featured instrumentalists. A guest vocalist with such a group would have to be outstanding and brief, with no onstage chatter. Ms. Margolis was neither outstanding nor brief, and her chatter was extraneous.
Once the band was again on its own, its sound was incredibly brilliant, with Handy’s wild and rambunctious sax progressing into lovely and rapturous themes, accompanied by a virtuosic bass solo. Thomas’s violin generated a voluptuous volume of string effects. Clarke, on drums, was consistently and rhythmically resonant, and I had hoped to hear him in much longer solo riffs, as his reputation for powerful percussive skill is astounding. Perhaps next time. For updated listings of Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, check out Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola Website.
Rob Thomas, Jerry Hahn, John Handy, Don Thompson, Terry Clarke
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower