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Born This Day
Louis Armstrong and Steve Andrews.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ron Carter Trio @ Blue Note Jazz Club Milan. March 18.

Ron Carter (dbl bass); Donald Vega (piano); Anthony Wilson (gtr).
(Review by JC)
A brief trip to Milan is always nice but it was an added bonus to discover that there is now a top-notch jazz club in the city and even greater excitement to see that the legendary Ron Carter was playing on the night we were free. The club in Milan is a European offshoot of the legendary New York Blue Note and there are also two more clubs in Japan (why not?).
We decided to have a meal so went early before the jazz started. The house lights were full up when we arrived and it was clear that blue was the dominant colour. The walls were blue, the stage backdrop was blue and even the table tops were blue – not just blue notes, more all blues. The meal itself was not a patch on the Cherry Tree and twice as expensive. Although the waiter warned in advance that the pasta was 'al dente', I've chewed softer bricks. However, to be fair, after some extensive mastication, the dish was actually quite tasty. But the reason we, and everyone else, were there was for the music and by the time the lights were dimmed, the club was full.
The first thing to be said was that this was a stylish trio with Ron Carter leading the way in a very dapper double breasted suit and creases so fine you could sharpen pencils on them. They got straight down to business with Carter out front between the piano and the guitar. There is something great about hearing a group hit the spot from the first few notes and this trio certainly did that. As usual, I would have liked sub-titles for the announcements but it sounded as if the first piece was called Living Room either by or for Oscar Pettiford. The second piece called Candlelight was definitely written for Jim Hall and featured gorgeously lyrical playing by all three, but particularly Anthony Wilson on guitar.
The next piece was an unusual treatment of My Funny Valentine with Carter playing solid riffs under some spiky piano playing from Donald Vega. Ever up to the minute, Ron Carter then announced they were going to do/play/create a ‘Brazilian mashup’ and the second part of this mix was Wave with Carter soloing beautifully. A Fletcher Henderson tune followed with immaculate playing from all three, then Vega on piano changed tempo and embarked on a long solo in which there were invitations for all kinds of people to join in. I certainly heard the Saints go Marching in and Santa Claus Coming to Town. It sounded as if it was going to be a good party.
Then all too soon the session was over and the lights went up to reveal that blue was still the colour. Everyone seem to have had a good time listening to a superb trio but I still can’t get used to the idea that you then get kicked out so that the second ‘sitting’ can come in. Doesn’t seem right in a jazz club somehow.
JC

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