Vocalist Jane Monheit, who appeared at the Litchfield Jazz Festival early in her career in 2001, was next on the menu. Joined by Michael Kenan on piano, Neal Miner on bass, Joe Magnarello on trumpet and husband Rick Montalbano on drums, Monheit dished up a set of standard and classic jazz tunes for her enthusiastic fans. Monheit has a good vocal instrument and was in fine voice singing and scatting her way through the well-paced set. One of the highlights was a slow tempo rendition of Leonard Bernstein's "I'm So Lucky To Be Me" with only Kenan's piano behind her. Then there was the up-tempo "Twisted" Wardell Gray bebop favorite and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "The Waters Of March," which she sang with the English lyrics. The band delivered solid support behind her with Magnarello doing some tasty fills on the trumpet. Monheit closed her set with a nostalgic visit, Harold Arlen's "Over The Rainbow" and another standard from the moviesIrving Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek"as an encore.
Saturday, August 1st
High noon brought on the Latin beat with Cuban drummer Dafnis Prietoand his Si O Si Quartet. The quartet included Prieto, Peter Apfelbaum on sax, Manuel Valera on piano and Charles Flores on bass. The music was all original since Prieto has a history of creating music for dance, chamber ensembles and, of course, his own bands. The focus of this set was on the leader's drumming, which took on the character of a start/stop rhythm pattern rather than straight-ahead time-keeping. On one song the piano carried a constant rhythmic pattern and Prieto played the punctuation, his kit sounding almost like timbales. Apfelbaum contributed several interesting solos, and both Valera on piano and Flores on bass did their part to deliver an exciting set.
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