Bassist John Bruce Wallace
opened the South County Jazz Club
's 2014-15 concert season Friday afternoon with a top-notch trio whose members had never worked together in this personnel grouping. It featured guitarist Larry Campbell
and drummer Marty Morell
, best known in jazz circles for his seven-year stint in pianist Bill Evans
' trio from 1968 to 1975.
Musically, it was a fine, and poignant, afternoon at the Venice (FL) Art Center. This was Wallace's third consecutive season opener for the jazz club. Powerhouse pianist Kenny Drew Jr. had been pencilled in for the gig - until his unexpected death on August 4.
Portions of the two sets were spent in musical tribute to Drew and other jazz greats who left us recently. Wallace took the lead on a touching version of Benny Golson's I Remember Clifford," with a somber feel that subtly honored Drew. Camp also called two compositions ("Peace" and Strollin'") by the late bandleader and composer Horace Silver.
The trio more than offset those scattered somber moments with their spirited playing, particularly on the up-tempo warhorses Unit 7" by Sam Jones, Hi Fly by Randy Weston and Crazeology" by Bud Powell. With dexterity, finesse and instant chemistry, Camp, Morell and Wallace showed us why they are so fine - individually and collectively.
This was the first South County Jazz Club appearance for St. Petersburg-based Camp and for Morell, who teaches jazz drumming at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.