All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

2

Harvie S, Sheryl Bailey, Steve Johns: Nyack, NY, July 29, 2012

David A. Orthmann By

Sign in to view read count
Harvie S, Sheryl Bailey, Steve Johns
Nyack Jazz Week at the Turning Point Cafe
Piermont, NY
July 29, 2012

Sometimes auspicious events occur in unlikely circumstances. The last part of Nyack Jazz Week 2012 was billed as a closing night concert with surprise guests, followed by a jam session. Long before the first set began, some of the invited guests arrived, instruments in tow, eager to play. All of this activity forecast a night filled with familiar tunes, and lengthy solos of varying degrees of competence. But before the vagaries of jazz as democracy commenced, there was the matter of the debut of a cooperative trio comprised of bassist Harvie S, guitarist Sheryl Bailey, and drummer Steve Johns.

The trio's 45-minute set, short by today's standards, was filled with a splendid tension between individualism and group interplay. During S' affable improv on "An Unexpected Turn" (one of Bailey's three originals in the set), Johns weighed in with irregularly placed hits to the bass drum. Bailey's chords squirmed around S' impeccable lines and then landed squarely on top of each beat. While Johns' brushes held things in place on the head of "Masa's Bag," S nimbly played the melody in unison with the guitarist; the second time around he executed a conventional walking bass line. Bailey stayed right with S through his changes in dynamics in the middle of the bassist's "Off Minor" solo, and then she offered extra- musical support in the form of one syllable utterances and gleeful laughter.

Bailey doesn't fit into the ranks of persistent, notey plectrists; nor does she resemble those who are beholden to blues or rock orthodoxy. Moreover, clichés and easily recognizable improvisational strategies are nowhere to be found. Like her work throughout the rest of the set, a "For All Those Living" solo encompassed a great deal of information, as she juxtaposed single notes and chords in unpredictable ways. While restlessly making changes in phrasing and velocity, stability prevailed, as if she was working from a blueprint inside her head. Amidst Johns' persistent bass drum, Bailey wrung a series of keening notes from the instrument, followed by run-on singles and slick, groove oriented chords. Using a painterly approach to S' ballad-like "Before," she executed a brief brush stroke of a chord, pointed, high notes, and low rumbling tones. A coherent narrative was evident throughout all of this movement up and down the instrument.

In a time when casual, impromptu performances are rapidly becoming the norm, groups like this one, even in an embryonic state, are a godsend. S, Bailey, and Johns deserve more opportunities to cultivate their chemistry, and develop an even deeper sound. Here's hoping that more gigs, a recording, and widespread recognition are in the trio's future.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Bailey's Bundles
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Plucky Strum

Plucky Strum

Whaling City Sound
2015

buy
Cocolamus Bridge

Cocolamus Bridge

Blue Bamboo Music
2010

buy
Now Was The Time

Now Was The Time

Savant Records
2008

buy
Funky Cha

Funky Cha

Zoho Music
2006

buy
Texas Rumba

Texas Rumba

Zoho Music
2004

buy

Related Articles

Read Donny McCaslin Group / Ensemble LPR: Symphonic Bowie at Central Park SummerStage Live Reviews
Donny McCaslin Group / Ensemble LPR: Symphonic Bowie at...
by Kurt Gottschalk
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Burlington Discover Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Burlington Discover Jazz Festival 2018
by Doug Collette
Published: June 13, 2018
Read Le French May’s Live Jazz Series in Hong Kong Live Reviews
Le French May’s Live Jazz Series in Hong Kong
by Rob Garratt
Published: June 11, 2018
Read Michelle Lordi at Philadelphia Museum of Art Live Reviews
Michelle Lordi at Philadelphia Museum of Art
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: June 10, 2018
Read Andy Hague Quintet at The Bronx Bar Live Reviews
Andy Hague Quintet at The Bronx Bar
by Barry Witherden
Published: June 10, 2018
Read Atlanta Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Atlanta Jazz Festival 2018
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 9, 2018
Read "Crispell-Fonda-Sorgen Trio Live at The Falcon" Live Reviews Crispell-Fonda-Sorgen Trio Live at The Falcon
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 29, 2017
Read "John Beasley’s Monk’estra At SFJAZZ" Live Reviews John Beasley’s Monk’estra At SFJAZZ
by Walter Atkins
Published: November 12, 2017
Read "Kyle Taylor Parker at The Green Room 42" Live Reviews Kyle Taylor Parker at The Green Room 42
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 17, 2018
Read "Gilmore Keyboard Festival" Live Reviews Gilmore Keyboard Festival
by John Ephland
Published: June 3, 2018
Read "Andy Hague Quintet at The Bronx Bar" Live Reviews Andy Hague Quintet at The Bronx Bar
by Barry Witherden
Published: June 10, 2018