David Murray, Nicholas Payton, John Scofield, Mike Stern, John Abercrombie and Matthew Shipp
The Thanksgiving holiday brought hearty fun, in the shape of reedsman Ken Peplowski and guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli at Dizzy's Club, and said trumpeter's Alumni All-Stars down at The Blue Note. Both sets of sets were cheerfully entertaining, with Ken and Bucky breezing through the Cole Porter songbook (Richard Rodgers and Irving Berlin on other nights), charming the turkey-stuffed bellies of a more sociable Thanksgiving crowd. Clark Terry had ducked out of the Dizzy Gillespie role at The Blue Note, but his understudy, Greg Gisbert, was well-prepared to negotiate the highest of trumpet runs, with great efficacy. Reedsman James Moody provided the humor, whilst trombonist Slide Hampton kept everyone in check, tackling a Dizzy repertoire that spanned his entire career, early to late periods.
The Blue Note also operates a couple of extra-marital affairs: its late night groove series and its Sunday brunch sets. The great Melvin Sparks led a raunchy trio with the classic Hammond organ and drums set-up, spinning out a series of highly involved guitar solos, deep into the night. Then, for a more relaxed afternoon session, Junior Mance definitely arrives from the bluesier end of the jazz piano tradition, delivering a set of easy-going rollers, fluent and cheery, making the odd pause for sombre reflection, before bouncing off into the next set of changes.