2

Jerry Vivino and the LA/NY Jazz Trio: Half Moon Bay, CA, June 9, 2013

Bill Leikam By

Sign in to view read count
Jerry Vivino and the LA/NY Jazz Trio
Douglas Beach House
Half Moon Bay, California
June 9, 2013

Three top-flight jazz musicians—saxophonist/flautist Jerry Vivino (soprano, tenor, and baritone), the ever-inspiring pianist Mitchel Forman and stand-up bassist Kevin Axt (touted as being Los Angeles' busiest bassist)—presented themselves on a breezy, sunny afternoon at the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, aka the Douglas Beach House. As these three jazz musicians took the stage, they carried with them deep histories and experiences, having played with some of jazz's legendary bandleaders and musicians: Forman played with Stan Getz and Gerry Mulligan; Axt played with Chuck Mangione and Phil Woods; and Vivino packed with him his present gig as a member of the Basic Cable Band, the house-band for television's The Conan O'Brien Show, Wynton Marsalis and many more. As they walked on, the audience acknowledged them with hearty applause, having come to hear selections from the song books of traditional jazz composers including George Gershwin, Cole Porter, John Coltrane, Thad Jones and Thelonious Monk, among others.

It's clear that Vivino has the chops to take a traditional jazz tune like "The Sunny Side of the Street," massage it through his flute, and elevate it to another level. Add to that Forman and Axt, and what do they produce? Wickedly wonderful jazz. This was supported at the end of the first set by a highly knowledgeable member of the audience, a jazz drummer himself, who said that he'd rate the performance an easy ten-plus.

With a few words of introduction, the trio launched into Johnny Mandel's "Emily." From the top, it was clear that this trio exemplified the best in professional musicianship; they were as tight as a guitar string and as precise on the uptake as is humanly possible. By the third tune, "While My Lady Sleeps" written by Bronislau Kaper for the 1946 stage play The Chocolate Soldier, they changed up from the prior two tunes. Axt opened the piece with a walking bass line for several bars before Vivino came in exactly on cue. He took the song's melody straight out on his tenor sax while Axt slipped to the background, but his bass was never overwhelmed by the sax nor by Forman. Axt had a way of making his bass heard, even If a number was crazily intense. It was within this tune that Vivino treated the audience to his technique of popping (lip-snapping) on the reed. The trio carried it off smoothly and with a lyrical feel all the way through.

During the second set, the trio stretched out by inserting, here and there, improvisational runs that took Coltrane's "Giant Steps" right to the edge. It was Forman who led the way and took the piece to new heights with playing that had a classical, almost symphonic flavor in places yet, at the same time, always keeping an overall swinging and jazzy feel. Vivino opened on his flute and, several bars later, both Axt and Forman entered the piece simultaneously. Midway through, Axt took a solo and he, too, pushed the envelope by slapping his bass and playing it in an unconventional manner.

By the end of the second set, the LA/NY Jazz Trio had seduced the audience, taking it on a ride through a wide variety of music and song. Vivino's vocals added considerably to the concert. The sun was just going down when the trio wrapped the last tune of the set, "Cherokee." As the tune culminated, the audience rose from its chairs and gave the trio a huge round of applause, peppered with shouts of, "More, more," and "Encore, encore"; although the band did not reassemble, everyone still walked away from the Douglas Beach House satisfied that they had heard a unique and deeply satisfying trio.

Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Shirlee Temper At The Empress Theatre Live Reviews Shirlee Temper At The Empress Theatre
by Walter Atkins
Published: April 30, 2017
Read SFJAZZ Collective at the Music Box Supper Club Live Reviews SFJAZZ Collective at the Music Box Supper Club
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Mark Hagan's Jazz Salon At The Old 76 House Live Reviews Mark Hagan's Jazz Salon At The Old 76 House
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Anat Cohen at Davidson College Live Reviews Anat Cohen at Davidson College
by Perry Tannenbaum
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Kneebody at Johnny Brenda's Live Reviews Kneebody at Johnny Brenda's
by Mike Jacobs
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "John Handy Tribute At SFJAZZ" Live Reviews John Handy Tribute At SFJAZZ
by Walter Atkins
Published: January 30, 2017
Read "Craig Handy Quartet at Sunset Jazz Club" Live Reviews Craig Handy Quartet at Sunset Jazz Club
by Patricia Myers
Published: July 14, 2016
Read "Nik Bärtsch’s Mobile at the Rubin Museum of Art" Live Reviews Nik Bärtsch’s Mobile at the Rubin Museum of Art
by Tyran Grillo
Published: June 7, 2016
Read "Kronos Festival 2017" Live Reviews Kronos Festival 2017
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: February 12, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!