The Barrel Room at the Twisted Vine Bistro in downtown Fort Myers was packed on Saturday, September 28 for bassist Brandon Robertson's CD release gig/celebration. By my head count, it was standing-room-only and then some. In addition to those fortunate to get seats at tables or the bar,people were standing wherever they could find space.
It was a well-deserved turnout to note the release of Bass'd on a True Story (Slammin' Media).
The Barrel Room was the natural choice for this, since Brandon performs weekly at the club as an integral part of the Dan Miller-Lew Del Gatto quartet each Thursday night. He's built quite a following since settling in the area. He performs frequently in a variety of contexts and directs the jazz program at nearby Florida Gulf Coast University.
While the CD includes two terrific jazz standards (Brooks Bowman's East of the Sun (West of the Moon" and Benny Golson's Stablemates"), the other eight tracks are Robertson originals. Each was inspired by a profound moment in the leader's musical or personal life, hence the clever CD title.
The band for the evening included Miller on trumpet, Del Gatto on tenor sax, Zach Bartholomew on piano and Josh Platt on drums. Bartholomew, a longtime collaborator with Brandon since their Florida State undergrad days, earned his doctorate and teaches at the University of Miami's Frost School of Music. Platt is a Frost student.
Since this was a celebration as much as a two-set jazz show, it was fitting that Brandon kicked things off with the infectious shuffle-beat original Phat Friday." He wrote it after his first trip to New Orleans, where he and some of his college buddies were overwhelmed by the Crescent City's exotic food, non-stop music and unique atmosphere. This happened a few months before the flooding from Hurricane Katrina devastated parts of the city.
The Barrel Room show included a variety of material from Brandon's CD, along with a favorite club tune, Blues by Five," and a couple of new originals. Yes, this busy guy is already thinking about his next recording project.