The 11th Annual Jazz Cruise: January 29-February 5, 2012
Anat Cohen stood out with Friday's all stars on all three of her instrumentssoprano and tenor saxophones, and clarinetmost notably on Dexter Gordon's "Fried Bananas." Harris delivered a couple nifty vocals, first on Irving Berlin's seldom-heard "I Got Lost," and then a foot-stomping up-tempo "Something's Gotta Give."
People were also talking about drummer Tommy Igoe's festive shows, here performing at the Crow's Nest. At New York's Birdland club, Igoe has a large following for his band; here, he really delivered with a group featuring young trumpeter Nick Marichone and saxophonist Nathan Childers, anchored by veteran pianist Allen Farnham and bassist James Genus. Igoe's special guest on the cruise was expert percussionist and exciting vibraphonist Roland Morales-Matos. Matos went all out with his vibes solo on Chick Corea's classic, "Spain," with the patrons up and shouting. The horn players stood out on Luis Bonfa's bossa nova, "Menina Flor," which also gained a raucous reaction; they were real crowd pleasers.
Kirk Whalum's group really had its sea legs. The group had been onboard two weeks prior, also playing on the Smooth Jazz Cruise. Straddling the line between the two genres, Whalum proved his straight-ahead cred immediately in his Crow's Nest set by ripping through a hard-charging version of Coltrane's "Giant Steps," his tenor boldly in command. Later he went further back with the classic "Red Top," paraphrasing Arnett Cobb's classic solo. Whalum also sampled his Valentine's Day release, Romance Song (Rendezvous, 2012), a tribute to the classic Johnny Hartman/Coltrane recording, John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman (Impulse!, 1963). No one could replace Hartman's smooth baritone, but brother, Kevin Whalum's fresh tenor voice did a nice job, particularly on "You Are Too Beautiful."
All too soon it was time to go home, and with the dense programming, there were performers missed, including guitarist Bruce Forman's Cow Bop, bringing country to jazz, and virtuoso bassist Jay Leonhart's solo excursion. All week, fans were lining up to reserve cabins for next year at the Jazz Cruise office. With this year's turnout, it might be wise for returnees not to tarry.
All Photos: Larry Taylor