340

Mike Stern Band at Iridium

Chris Thompson By

Sign in to view read count
Snow was coming down hard in midtown Manhattan on Tuesday night, January 27th — one of those notorious Nor'easter's — but that didn't deter my son Daniel and I from making our way to the Iridium Jazz Club (www.iridiumjazzclub.com) to catch the Mike Stern Band. Iridium is a comfortable but intimate venue just north of Times Square on Broadway. The club features great food and drinks, cozy lighting, excellent service and a top notch sound system.
As he approached the stage, Mike seemed genuinely surprised that so many of us had shown up. He flashed that big smile of his and sincerely thanked us all for braving the elements. We felt welcomed. Mike brought along a couple of musicians from his brand new CD, These Times : Bob Franceschini on Tenor Sax and Richard Bona on bass and vocals. Dave Weckl rounded out the quartet on drums.
The set started out with a whisper, each member of the band playing quietly off a groove set up by the light, jagged strumming of Stern's guitar. The amps were turned way down, and drummer Dave Weckl displayed a delicate touch with his brushes — the elaborate drum set with double bass drums and too many cymbals to count being used sparingly (for now, anyway). Bassist Richard Bona locked in with some precisely placed syncopated notes while tenor saxophonist Bob Franceschini swirled long tones through the air, adding a melodic touch to the sparse interplay. It wasn't long, though, before the volume and intensity was cranked up. Stern, Weckl and Bona jammed like a power trio and Franceschini would dive in and take it all up a sonic notch or two with his hard bop tenor style, also joining in for some catchy unison ensemble lines with Stern’s guitar and Bona’s vocals. The band rode a roller coaster ride of dynamics throughout the course of the set, and their mutual admiration for one another was clearly evident. Richard Bona’s trademark angelic-like wordless vocals added a texture that only he can provide.
Mike Stern's guitar prowess first came to prominence when he joined Blood, Sweat and Tears at age 22. He went on to work with the elite of 80's fusion artists including Billy Cobham, Miles Davis, Jaco Pastorius and the Brecker Brothers. These Times is his 12th date as a leader. He has received three Grammy nominations along the way, most recently for his 2001 release, Voices. Mike Stern's set at Iridium demonstrated why he is one of the premier guitarists of his generation.

Visit Mike Stern on the web at www.mikestern.org .

Photo Credit
Oskar Neubauer


Shop

More Articles

Read Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom Live Reviews Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
by Geoff Anderson
Published: February 20, 2017
Read The Cookers at Nighttown Live Reviews The Cookers at Nighttown
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: February 16, 2017
Read Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens Live Reviews Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 15, 2017
Read Kronos Festival 2017 Live Reviews Kronos Festival 2017
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: February 12, 2017
Read "Enjoy Jazz 2016" Live Reviews Enjoy Jazz 2016
by John Kelman
Published: November 7, 2016
Read "Ralph Peterson's Triangular III at Nighttown" Live Reviews Ralph Peterson's Triangular III at Nighttown
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 18, 2016
Read "We Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews We Jazz Festival 2016
by Anthony Shaw
Published: December 15, 2016
Read "Midge Ure at Revolution Music Hall" Live Reviews Midge Ure at Revolution Music Hall
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: October 8, 2016
Read "TD Ottawa Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews TD Ottawa Jazz Festival 2016
by John Kelman
Published: July 3, 2016

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!

Buy it!