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Live From New York

Lucian Ban, Mat Maneri, Enrico Rava, Rock Candy Funk Party & Michael Hashim

By Published: June 20, 2013
Even though saxophonist Michael Hashim turns up with moderate regularity in larger ensembles, he doesn't seem to play many dates as a leader in NYC. This gig at Smalls was particularly attractive, as Hashim was fronting a drumerless trio, allowing maximum space for his alto and soprano weavings. One of the famed Greenwich Village basement club's owners, Spike Wilner
Spike Wilner
Spike Wilner

piano
, happened to be sitting at the piano, with veteran bassist Murray Wall completing this sensitive grouping. The approach was decidedly mainstream, but Hashim is one of those wily souls who always maintains freshness by picking out some unlikely tunes from the lesser-thumbed pages of the songbook. Hashim kept the joviality buoyant by spouting anecdotes or observations about the material, while Wilner also contributed to the informal onstage dialogue. There was Jobim's "Useless Landscape," Duke's "Moon Mist," Strayhorn's "My Little Brown Book" and Monk's "Ugly Beauty," the latter with laughing alto and a deft flipping rotation of Hashim's hat. The rarely heard old chestnut "There's A Lull In My Life" was followed by an impromptu thematic creation, "High In The Basement," taken at a bracing trot. On the more populist front, "Jitterbug Waltz" rightfully burned the torch for the sometimes forgotten Fats Waller
Fats Waller
Fats Waller
1904 - 1943
piano
, an opportunity for Hashim to deliver quicksilver runs, with smeared streaks and a distinct fluttering vibrato. Okay, so the routine rotation of solos from saxophone to piano to bass was hard to avoid, but in the hands of this trio that hoary old practice became magical rather than mundane. The threesome played a substantial first set, then a more curtailed second, and there were no complaints from the cheery crowd if the 'official' set times weren't observed.

Photo Credit
Michael Palma


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