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Live Reviews

Nnenna Freelon Live At The Saville Theater, San Diego

By Published: November 22, 2010
The evening continued with the perfectly paced, mid-tempo swing of, "Smile." Once again, Freelon infused the Charlie Chaplin standard with an emotional understanding that was appropriately reflective, rather than sappy. Garson and Moore were in lockstep with each other all evening, and especially on this piece. Garson kept looking Moore's way and teasing out additional drum-set commentary. They were obviously having a blast, and their joy spilled into and over the audience.

It all had to end sooner or later, and it did, on a high note, with a truly off-kilter arrangement of the Ellington/Strayhorn vehicle, "It Don't Mean A Thing." They started out sounding like 1930s German cabaret, all choppy and square. Freelon seemed to enjoy putting the audience on with her stilted, mechanical delivery. Of course it was all a ruse— just a setup for the inevitable "swing-fest" that followed. Magnusson laid down a "Detroit" solo (all walking bass), and Moore was given wide latitude to create an explosive, roiling drum soliloquy that was the perfect segue into Garson's wild, Art Tatum
Art Tatum
Art Tatum
1909 - 1956
piano
meets Cecil Taylor
Cecil Taylor
Cecil Taylor
b.1929
piano
piano episode. After Freelon returned to "take the tune out," a long, loud ovation ensued.

Photo Credit

Michael Oletta


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Download jazz mp3 “Baby, It's Cold Outside” by Nnenna Freelon /And The John Brown Big Band