Nous N'Irons Pas a New York 2013 Duc des Lombards Paris, France July 23-30, 2013
Four American jazz stars performed as part of a two-month-long tribute to New York-style jazz at Duc des Lombards for its annual Nous N'Irons Pas a New York ("We're not going to New York") theme, indicating that New York/American musicians were appearing at the club.
and French drummer Mourad Benhammou. In the first set, Walton seemed to be in a reminiscent mood, playing pretty versions of "Young and Foolish," "Over the Rainbow" and a quote-filled "Body and Soul."
His melodic reflections continued on three originals, "Cedar's Blues," "Martha's Prize" (written for his wife) and "Dear Ruth" (for his mother). He gained energy with his most widely known composition, the dynamic "Bolivia," fusing Latin rhythm with hard-bop phrasing.
A highlight of the second set was an extended medley of Thelonious Monk
hits that segued from "Bye-Ya" and "Ruby My Dear" to "'Round Midnight" and "Rhythm-a-ning," each filled with inventive harmonics and rivulets of runs. His final selection was the pensive "Every Time We Say Goodbye." When the audience encouraged an encore, he chose "On the Trail," the only one of five movements from composer Ferde Grofé's 1931 orchestral composition, "Grand Canyon Suite," that has become a jazz standard.
swung his way through two knuckle-busting originals, "Spicy Honey" and "Soul Brothers Cool." The next selections prompted nods of familiarity with two totally different genres, the pianist playing Lionel Richie's 1980s hit "Hello" and then shifting into the classical catelogue with "Swinging the Toreador," first heard on guitarist Barney Kessel
's "Con Alma" was conveyed in waltz tempo instead of the usual Latin rhythm, followed by the pianist revealing his early church-gospel influence in a deep-hearted rendition of "How Great Thou Art." He closed the first set with the wonderful 12-bar blues of Milt Jackson
Chestnut unleashed a more rollicking second set, opening in bebop mode with leapfrogged octaves that made "Yardbird Suite" pop with energy. He switched form with Jones' tranquil original, "In Search of a Quiet Place," and then delivered a Mozart-style intro for "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)."
The pianist's interpretations of "Lover," "Days of Wine and Roses" and "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" were filled with rippling chord progressions and flurries of 32nd notes reminiscent of Art Tatum
's fiery tenor saxophone reflected his three decades of work, ranging from "In a Sentimental Mood" to "Bye-Ya." Early in the set, he reinvented the requisite tenor ballad, "Body and Soul," with pianist Cedric Chaveau playing sleekly lyrical as bassist Nicola Sabato (both from France) underscored the melody lines.
Midway through the first set, Handy kept the momentum going with unbroken segues that included his vocals on "Willow Weep for Me" and an original, "Baby Take a Chance with Me." His untamed style in the second set, playing "Cold Duck," "Straight, No Chaser" and George Coleman