Josh Nelson Trio: Half Moon Bay, CA, February 20, 2011

Bill Leikam By

Sign in to view read count
Josh Nelson Trio
Douglas Beach House
Half Moon Bay, CA
February 20, 2011

Opening the concert, club owner Pete Douglas announced that in its February issue, the editorial staff of Downbeat Magazine had chosen the Douglas Beach House (a.k.a. the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society) as one of the top 150 internationally known great jazz venues. This honor is bolstered by the quality of the jazz musicians who are booked there, like the Josh Nelson with Nelson on piano, Dave Robaire on bass, Dan Schnelle on drums, and featured guest Dayna Stephens on tenor sax.

From the opening number and all of the way through the nearly two-hour long concert, this was clearly a tight, well-rehearsed band, playing Nelson originals, along with standards to which the band gave a fresh twist. The opening number, Nelson's "Discoveries," set the tone for the evening as he opened with a piano solo. As the piece developed, Nelson seemed consumed with its power as he explosively ran the keyboard and at times added even more emphasis when he rose from the bench. In contrast, the third number of the concert, "Theme From Chinatown" by Jerry Goldsmith, highlighted Nelson's sensitive playing. These two tunes presented the breadth of the charts he chose to perform.

At 32, Nelson is not only an accomplished pianist, he also has the unique ability to pick the right team to back him, and that's most especially true of his drummer, Schnelle. Some drummers bang their drums, but Schnelle held to the background, making himself known but not overwhelming the rest of the group, playing with a sensitivity that supported the others while keeping impeccable time. Robaire kept the strings on his acoustic bass working the background rhythm, and came on strong and sure during his solos. Finally, Stephens, showed the audience that both he and Nelson could have fun, especially as they called, back-and-forth, through a portion of Robaire's composition that was so new that it had no name.

The audience's applause at the end was sincere, not just casually polite. Nelson demonstrated, to this appreciative and seasoned crowd at the Douglas Beach House, that the sensitive young pianist had a lot to give, and that they will clearly see more of him and his wonderful style of jazz as he makes an indelible mark on the scene. This concert was truly one of the high points of this season.


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Redwood City Salsa Festival 2017 Live Reviews Redwood City Salsa Festival 2017
by Walter Atkins
Published: October 17, 2017
Read AJAZZGO Festival in Cali, Colombia Live Reviews AJAZZGO Festival in Cali, Colombia
by Mark Holston
Published: October 13, 2017
Read CEO Experiment With Kurt Rosenwinkel at The Sugar Club Live Reviews CEO Experiment With Kurt Rosenwinkel at The Sugar Club
by Ian Patterson
Published: October 11, 2017
Read "Jazzahead! 2017" Live Reviews Jazzahead! 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: May 11, 2017
Read "Wadada Leo Smith At Firehouse 12" Live Reviews Wadada Leo Smith At Firehouse 12
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: May 11, 2017
Read "November Music 2016" Live Reviews November Music 2016
by Henning Bolte
Published: December 13, 2016
Read "Brilliant Corners 2017" Live Reviews Brilliant Corners 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Barranquijazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews Barranquijazz Festival 2016
by Mark Holston
Published: November 15, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.