It has often been opined by your 'humble correspondent' that the human voice is the ultimate musical instrument. The ability of the voice to give life to a tune not only by way of the lyrical aspect but by the nuances that it can generate, makes it unique.
Certainly the brasses and the woodwinds and some percussion ie; the Piano can move one from laughter to tears but the voice alone has the ability to send emotions to another level in sensitivity. Pale imitations of the voice though they may be, the instrumentation is the backbone of the 'swing' sense of jazz.
Tonight at Michael D's the rhythm section and Suzanne Pittson were certainly in tune with one another. Pittson will give you some melody and then explore the changes with a blazing horn like scat style that combines the horn chorus with the twists and turns of the human voice.
Bevan Manson's explosive pianistic style is juxtaposed beautifully with his ballad mode. Manson will add a quote in an improvised solo and turn it into a tour de force of monumental proportions. This Pianist is remarkable not only in his ideation and melodic ability..He swings like the 'daring young man on the flying trapeze' Bevan Manson is a walking art form.
Jeff D'Angelo has everything a Bassist could ask for, his soliloquies are well thought out gems, his time is as accurate as a Rolex, and his contribution to the ensemble is the straw that stirs the drink.
Dick Weller's accents and embellishments added the punctuation to an already story well told by his comrades in arms.....
"Softly As In A Morning Sunrise'" was reborn as Pittson gave a clinic in scatting. Manson's torrid Piano solo was followed by D'Angelo's rip roaring Bass trip. Eight bar exchanges between Pittson, the Drums and Piano wrapped things up nicely.
"Here's That Rainy Day" finds Suzanne Pittson in ballad form and adding her special spice to make this piece even more beautiful. Bevan Manson's reflective message is the thought provoking icing on an impressive musical cake.
If it can be said that a high point was reached in this already swinging evening, it was the superb rendition by Pittson (dedicated to yours truly) and her original lyrics to Freddie Hubbard's ode to Charlie Parker in "Bird Like" ...This tune went into orbit with a great Bass solo. Manson parlayed a "Yardbird Suite" quote into a whole new Pianistic experience, and Suzanne Pittson took off like a musical rocket...Super exchanges all around capped off a great composition and a great evening with Jazz reigning supreme.
This was a fabulous show with hot musicians at a cool jazz club.
Suzanne Pittson Quartet: Suzanne Pittson (v), Bevan Manson (p), Jeff D'Angelo (b), Dick Weller (d)