T.C. the 3rd: A Diamond in the Rough
St. Nick's Pub
September 5, 2010
Known among jazz insiders for well over five years, T.C. the 3rd has been leading his weekly Harlem Jazz Vocalist Workshop at St. Nick's Pub each Sunday. St. Nick's, located at 149th and St. Nicholas Ave, is one of the last "juke joints" left in New York City. It is definitely not a tourist trap by any standpoint and most of its regulars are neighborhood residents as well as die-hard jazz fans alike. Possibly because of St. Nick's gritty reputation or off the path location, T.C. has eluded much deserved press notoriety for his talent and the scene that he has created uptown.
T.C. began his first set with a composition entitled "Psalm 150," written by his mother Trudy Pitts. Righteously, he set a spiritual tone and seriousness to the music and through his meditations; he immediately became able to focus the energy of the room into his music for the rest of the night. A listener simply could not escape the gravity of the music.
Many soloists joined T.C. including, JD Allen on tenor saxophone and B.J. Jansen on baritone saxophone, who was the featured soloist in the first set. Both players displayed strong reverence towards the music. His rhythm section was extraordinarily tight and included, Dezron Douglas on bass, Kenneth Salters on drums and Roger Clemmons on piano. The music was intense throughout the night as many guest vocalists and instrumentalists joined the group sitting in.
T.C. had a certain force to his voice that most vocalists do not possess; he was able to carry the band swinging at any volume, loud or soft, with even intensity and tone. His style was reminiscent of Leon Thomas and Johnny Hartman, paying homage, but at the same time distinctly his own. Originality was definitely a hallmark of T.C.'s style whether it was his singing, musical choices, clothes, mannerisms or stage presence.
He is certainly one of the top male vocalists singing jazz today. One could even argue that he can either hold his own or surpass many artists who are currently more recognized on the scene. But one thing is certain, he's a talent deserving wider recognition. In the meantime you can visit him in Harlem at St. Nick's Pub any Sunday to check him out for yourself.