All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Mark Hagan's Jazz Salon At The Old 76 House

David A. Orthmann By

Sign in to view read count
Mark Hagan's Jazz Salon
The Old 76 House
Tappan, NY
January 7, 2015

While the outside temperature plummeted to single digits and everyone groused about the bitter cold, tenor saxophonist Ralph Lalama—undeterred by the circumstances—calmly suggested "Winter Wonderland." The seasonal favorite was the second selection by an ad hoc group assembled by bassist Mark Hagan, as part of his Wednesday night Jazz Salon series at The Old 76 House in Tappan, NY. A rewarding opening set could be ascribed, in part, to Hagan's resourcefulness in choosing experienced, compatible musicians from the seemingly bottomless talent pool in the New York City area, and—aside from "Winter Wonderland"—the wisdom of utilizing a program of jazz standards as vehicles for getting the group off the ground.

A rhythm section composed of pianist Roberta Piket, Hagan's bass, and drummer Steve Johns provided a steadfast foundation and just the right amount of stimulation for the soloists. Middling tempo versions of Benny Golson's "Stablemates," Lee Morgan's "Speedball," and "Winter Wonderland" were textbook examples of feel good swing and facilitated interaction between the musicians that sounded like witty conversations between old friends. The same combination of stability and lively rapport enlivened an up-tempo rendition of Bernie Miller's "Bernie's Tune."

Hagan and Johns locked in tightly behind trumpeter Duane Eubanks' "Stablemates" solo. While Eubanks delivered easy going, song-like phrases, Johns goosed him with one and two stroke fills to the tom-toms—a gambit he would successfully employ throughout the set—and created another level of tension with brief, articulate responses to Piket's comping. When Eubanks left a little space after some jittery, crackling lines in "Winter Wonderland," Johns quickly jumped in with a twisting, multi-stroke snare drum fill, and then he and Hagan dug in even deeper behind the trumpeter.

Piket's improvisations often incorporated contrasting elements that managed to hang together as a whole. "Stablemates" included ideas delivered in a solid, somewhat deliberate swing feel, long strings of single notes in the upper end of the keyboard, as well as bits and pieces of Golson's melody. "Winter Wonderland" found Piket in and out of a close relationship with Hagan's and Johns' pulse. A bullet train of notes came to an abrupt end, and a brittle chordal passage brought things to a satisfying conclusion.

Lalama bolted from the gate a split second after Eubanks' turn ended on "Winter Wonderland." Bullish, determined and moving forward in a terse, muscular fashion, the tenor saxophonist offered long spiraling phrases and then powered through a number of earthy declarations. Lalama's tightly packed lines during "Bernie's Tune" evinced a run on quality, yet he always managed to make sense and to swing on conventional terms. At one point he bounced a number of four and five note phrases off of one another to great effect.

Mark Hagan's Jazz Salon is an ideal listening experience for music lovers of all persuasions. An easily accessible location, free parking, minimal cover charge, and casual atmosphere make Hagan's scene a viable alternative to New York City jazz venues. The opportunity to catch groups of excellent jazzmen and women on a weekly basis is simply too good to pass up, and—in this instance —provided a welcome distraction from a cold winter's night.


comments powered by Disqus

Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Erie Avenue

Erie Avenue

Self Produced

The Audience

The Audience

Mighty Quinn Productions

Energy Fields

Energy Fields

Mighty Quinn Productions

Music For Grown-Ups

Music For Grown-Ups

Criss Cross


Live At Smalls

Savoy Jazz


Related Articles

Read Detroit Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Detroit Jazz Festival 2018
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews
Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia 2018 Live Reviews
Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia...
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood Vampires, Black Asteroids & Paul Lamb Live Reviews
Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood...
by Martin Longley
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe Live Reviews
Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe
by Chris May
Published: September 15, 2018
Read 12 Points 2018 Live Reviews
12 Points 2018
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 14, 2018
Read "Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC Winter Jazzfest" Live Reviews Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 15, 2018
Read "Isabella Lundgren at Bullret Jazz Club" Live Reviews Isabella Lundgren at Bullret Jazz Club
by Patrick Burnette
Published: November 25, 2017
Read "Flow Festival 2018" Live Reviews Flow Festival 2018
by Anthony Shaw
Published: August 14, 2018
Read "NYC Winter Jazzfest 2018 - The Friday Marathon" Live Reviews NYC Winter Jazzfest 2018 - The Friday Marathon
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 22, 2018
Read "Novara Jazz 2018" Live Reviews Novara Jazz 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: June 30, 2018
Read "John Abercrombie Tribute Concert at Roulette" Live Reviews John Abercrombie Tribute Concert at Roulette
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 30, 2018