July 13, 2024

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CDs review: George Garzone, Peter Erskine, Alan Pasqua, Darek Oles – 3 Nights In L.A. 2019: Videos, CD cover, Photos …

“3 Nights in LA” documents a January 2019 performance at a new Los Angeles club, Sam First. Peter Erskine took to the bandstand with pianist Alan Pasqua and bassist Darek Oles, his fellow faculty members at University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music joined by tenor saxophone player George Garzone, in town to teach a master class, for three nights, two sets a night. The result is this three-disc release, with each disc representing a different night with a total of 20 tracks and over three hours of music.

Erskine is likely the best known of these players from his time with Weather Report as well as playing with the likes of Steps Ahead, John Abercrombie, Kenny Wheeler, and Marc Johnson. Pianist Pasqua, a veteran of the New Tony Williams Lifetime and Allan Holdsworth, and bassist Oles, one of the most sought after bassists on the West Coast, have been playing with Erskine for over a decade. Tenor saxophonist Garzone, besides being a formidable master of the saxophone is a revered educator, with noted students including Joshua Redman, Branford Marsalis, and Donny McCaslin. Garzone first played with Erskine in 1998, an experience that left a deep impression and they have crossed paths several times since.

Those three nights in January produced some superb music. Erskine and his trio would be delightful to hear by themselves, but add Garzone’s tenor saxophone, and the music is excellent in the vein of the classic John Coltrane Quartet as well as the ’70s and ’80s music of Dexter Gordon and Art Pepper. One may hear elements of Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin, Hank Crawford and others in Garzone’s full-toned, robust playing. The Coltrane tone may be most evident on the excellent rendition of the blues, “Equinox,” the lovely ballad “I Want To Talk About You,” but also on Garzone’s “Tutti Italiani,” where he builds his solo with fire followed by Pasqua’s lyrical solo. There are three superb, different interpretations of “Have You Met Miss Jones?” and a rousing rendition of Bronisław Kaper’s “Invitation.”

There is also Garzone’s original “Dedicated to Michael Brecker,” which sounds like a contrafact of Lerner and Loewe’s “If I Ever Would Leave You” from “Camelot.” Garzone is fabulously complemented by Pasqua’s rhapsodic solo and the support by Oles and Erskine (who takes a thoughtfully constructed solo here). The remaining music of these discs is also superb making “3 Nights in LA” a terrific release.

George Garzone – tenor saxophone
Peter Erskine – drums
Alan Pasqua – piano
Darek Oles – bass

CD1 Night 1
1. Have You Met Miss Jones? 10:32
2. All The Things You Are 8:36
3. Dedicated To Michael Brecker 8:53
4. Twelve 9:11
5. I Hear A Rhapsody 8:03
6. Tutti Italiani 15:23
7. The Honeymoon 7:23

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CD2 Night 2
1. Like Someone In Love 9:58
2. Invitation 8:54
3. I Want To Talk About You 11:22
4. Hey Open Up 10:01
5. Agrodolce 11:15
6. Have You Met Miss Jones? 10:15
7. The Honeymoon 10:08

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CD3 Night 3
1. I’ll Remember April 14:56
2. Equinox 15:22
3. To My Papa 9:48
4. It Will Happen To You 9:25
5. Sky Shines on an August Sunday 7:31
6. Have You Met Miss Jones? 10:52

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