Some numbers to ponder. Saxophonist/trumpeter Ira Sullivan is 80 years old; vibraphonist Stu Katz is 74. 57 years. That is how long Ira Sullivan and Stu Katz have been making music together. 64 years. The number of years that Joe Segal's the Jazz Showcase has been featuring great jazz. In 1954, the year Bill Haley and the Comets recorded "Rock Around the Clock," two fine young jazz musicians first got together in their adopted hometown of Chicago. Fast forward 57 years later and the duo is still going strong, playing with perhaps a bit less fire in their bellies, but making up for it with plenty of love and dedication to the music that they've spent a lifetime making.
Recorded live in Chicago over the course of four nights, A Family Affair is one for the ages, an extremely satisfying recording at one of the country's most venerable institutions. Multi-instrumentalist Sullivan is in fine form, sounding as energetic as a player half his age, but with a subtleness and tastiness in his phrasing that can only come from decades spent on the bandstand. Katz is outstanding as well, on both vibes and piano. The duo has a crew of hometown aces as sidemen, including pianist Dan Trudell, tremendous bassist Dennis Carroll, and drummer George Fludas.
The set list consists of mainly standards, most of the medium- to up-tempo swing variety, but the most interesting moments of the record are the ballads, and the lesser-worn tunes. "Lullaby of the Leaves" is simply scrumptious, as is "Yesterdays," featuring a fine vocal turn by Lucia Newell. The arrangements aren't the tightest and some of the endings are dragged out a bit too longoften a setback of live recordingsbut Sullivan and Katz can certainly be forgiven for languishing in each other's company for all these years. Here's to many more.
Blues Two Views; Gee, Matthew; Pennies from Heaven; Scrapple from the Apple; Lullaby of the Leaves; Yesterdays; Take the A Train; Stablemates; What a Friend We Have in Jesus.
Ira Sullivan: tenor, alto and soprano saxophones, trumpet, fluegelhorn; Stu Katz: vibraphone, piano (3); Dan Trudell: piano; Dennis Carroll:acoustic bass; Steve Katz: acoustic bass (7); George Fludas: drums; Lucia Newell: vocal (6).
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.