Southern Man

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Concert Review - 23rd Street Jazz Band

Southern Man has tried to follow the 23rd Street Jazz Band pretty much since their inception but never had a chance to really sit and listen to them. That chance came tonight at a local coffee-and-chocolate bar called Cocoflow (reviewed here) where they have been playing on the last few Thursday evenings.

The 23rd Street Jazz Band is comprised of lead guitarist Michael Fresonke, bassist Chris Black, percussionist Cody Bass, and a rotating collection of lead singers. Tonight's lead was a young lady from the music program at the university where Southern Man teaches (and she will remain anonymous here, as she wasn't named on the advertising posters and Southern Man tries to be careful about privacy on his blog). He will confess that Mr. Fresonke's reputation would probably suffer if (a) it were know that he has given Southern Man a guitar lesson or two and (b) if Southern Man were to actually publicly perform on said guitar.

The performance tonight was terrific. As one might imagine, their repertoire includes a number of jazz and big-band standards for a small but appreciative audience - a number of Gershwin tunes including Summetime, Can't Take That Away From Me and Love Is Here To Stay; jazz and big-band classics such as Cry Me A River, Sentimental Journey, and All Of Me; and of course de rigeur standards such as Duke Ellington's Don't Get Around Much Anymore and Harold Arlen's timeless Stormy Weather. The student vocalist was more smooth than sultry and gave a fine performance. The instrumental ensemble was mellow, tight and precise, never overpowering and alway a perfect compliment to the vocalist.

In the "it's a small world" department, it turns out that Southern Man's gf, an elementary teacher, had bassist Chris Black's daughter in class last year. We ended up at a table with Chris' spouse and mother-in-law (who turned out to be one of Southern Man's co-workers) and the four of us had a most pleasant hour-and-a-half of conversation and music. All in all, a fine evening and Southern Man is looking foward to the 23rd Street Jazz Band's next performance.


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