Marvin Stamm, Mike Holober, Mike McGuirk and Dennis Mackrel; when musicians of that caliber gather onstage to record a live supper club session, even the diners snap to attention and harken closely lest any phrase or nuance eludes the ears. Such was the case on a December evening in 2019 at Maureen's Jazz Cellar in Nyack, NY (once home to the incomparable Zoot Sims) when the quartet held its audience in thrall for more than an hour as the tape kept running, safeguarding their artistry for others to hear and appreciate on this splendid CD.
The seventy-four-minute set consists of seven songs, two by Horace Silver ("Peace," "Out of the Night Came You"), a pair of Holober originals ("Dear Virginia," "Morning Hope"), Bronislau Kaper's seductive "Invitation," Bill Evans' lively "Funkallero" and, last but by no means least, Jerome Kern / Oscar Hammerstein's enduring standard, "All the Things You Are." Snug group dynamics and uncommon empathy are the order of the day and, with so much space available, everyone has a chance to stretch, and no one disappoints. Stamm, who plays only flugelhorn, is in his usual trim and articulate form, while Holober, McGuirk and Mackrel provide stalwart support and solo with enthusiasm and awareness. Holober's unescorted piano introduces five of the seven tracks; McGuirk does the honors on "Invitation," Mackrel on "Funkallero." McGuirk solos on every track, Mackrel on "Out of the Night," "All the Things" and "Funkallero."
Tempos are for the most part slow to moderate, accelerating only on "All the Things" and "Funkallero" and, even there, they are a step or two removed from hurried. While every number has some winning moments to deposit in the memory bank, the foursome seems more loose and carefree than elsewhere on "All the Things," which takes pride of place. There is one ballad, the lovely "Dear Virginia," on which Holober, Stamm and McGuirk solo warmly and Mackrel shows his dexerity with brushes. "Funkallero" is a charming closer, wrapping up the session on a breezy note while reminding everyone that these craftsmen came to play. If you happened to be in Nyack, NY, on that December evening and were looking to sample some high-quality music, Maureen's Jazz Cellar was the place to be. Now, thanks to this luminous and well-recorded album, you can at least be there in spirit.
Out of the Night Came You; Invitation; Dear Virginia; Morning Hope; All the Things You Are;
Recorded live @ Maureen’s Jazz Cellar
Nyack, New York
December 20, 2019
Recording Engineer: John Guth
Mixing: John Guth, Marvin Stamm, Mike Holober
Mastering: John Guth
Cover Art: Matt Ferranto
Produced by Marvin and Mike
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