Eric Reed at Smoke Jazz & Supper Club

Nick Catalano By

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Hard Bop continues to find a home in NY's Smoke Jazz & Supper Club. For decades the room featured One for All -a group whose stalwart players Eric Alexander, Steve Davis, David Hazeltine, John Webber, Jim Rotondi, and Joe Farnsworth had critics comparing them to Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. These players often led smaller groups into Smoke with players such as Harold Mabern and other hard boppers.

Last week (7-22) the club brought in Eric Reed and company whose sets focused on music by hard boppers Lee Morgan, Booker Little, McCoy Tyner, and Freddie Hubbard. In addition to showcasing popular compositions i.e. Lee Morgan's "The Joker" Reed provided interesting commentary on the masters of the bop literature that began in the late '50s and continues to the present with such groups as the aforementioned One For All.

Reed's well known languorous piano lines were on display in Tyner's "Search For Peace" a tune which he stated had a particularly strategic meaning in the present political climate. Selections such as Hubbard's "For B.P." serviced the long often broken improv horn lines that hard bop pioneered. The work of tenorist Chris Lewis and trumpeter Jeremy Pelt rendered these memorable stylings with grace and aplomb. Bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Kendrick Scott captured the hard bop rhythm textures with impressive authenticity.

Indeed the informal, relaxed atmosphere at Smoke has drawn in patrons whose preference for this older jazz literature has long been satiated there. May it long prosper.

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