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...


Paul Klinefelter and Jim Ridl at Rollers Flying Fish

Victor L. Schermer By

Sign in to view read count
Paul Klinefelter and Jim Ridl
Roller's Flying Fish Restaurant
Philadelphia, PA
August 16, 2013

Roller's Flying Fish Restaurant, in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, offers live music in its intimate upstairs setting. The venue has featured top-of-the line jazz players including the legendary Mose Allison and guitarists Chuck Anderson and Jimmy Bruno. Recently, Paul Klinefelter has curated several events featuring the bassist, paired with musicians he has worked with in his long Philly-based career. This particular night consisted of a duo with Jim Ridl, in a reunion after several years during which the pianist relocated from Southern New Jersey to the New York area, where he has established himself as leader and sideman at top clubs like the Jazz Standard, Kitano, and the 55 Bar, as well as the rhythm sections of the Dave Liebman Big Band, the Mingus Big Band, and Anthony Branker's Word Play. Ridl, whether on piano or Fender tRhodes, is a master of many styles, with a rare capacity for inventing novel musical ideas and concepts on the spot and spot on.

Klinefelter had just returned from a three-week stint at the Endless Mountain Music Festival and is featured on blues artist Roger Girke's Piece of Work (RG3 Records, 2013). He is a resilient bassist capable of swinging rhythms, brilliant runs, and flowing melodic lines in the tradition of Scott LaFaro, Eddie Gomez, and Gary Peacock. On this evening, the bassist and Ridl grooved together beautifully on a variety of standards and an original from one of the pianist's stellar albums.

The duet configuration of piano and bass provides an unparalleled opportunity to hear how jazz players deftly pick up on each other's ideas and nurture their respective improvisations. In the first tunes of the evening, Cole Porter's "I Love You" and Sammy Fain's "Alice in Wonderland" from the Disney movie (transmuted into a jazz standard by Bill Evans, John Coltrane and others), Klinefelter provided the rhythmic thrust and led the intros, while Ridl's solos soon modified the mood and structure of the tunes, with Klinefelter adeptly resonating with Ridl's twists and turns. In Ridl's competent hands, "I Love You" became a complex commentary on relationships, and "Alice" caught some of her madcap excursions into the netherworld.

Ridl's "Carry Me Home" was all his own, recorded in his debut CD, Five Minutes to Madness and Joy (Synergy Music, 1999). The depth of emotional expression in this piece was impressive and obviously moved the audience. Ridl gets some of his themes from literature, poetry and history, and here he was inspired by Cormac McCarthy's book The Crossing (Knopf, 1994), as well as a Civil War battlefield love letter (jazz, in fact, owes some of its origin to the Civil War, when soldiers comforted themselves with improvised guitar and woodwind music). Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Wave" was mundane and made few waves. By contrast, Clifford Brown's "Joy Spring" was uplifting, and echoed some of the great trumpet player's own improvisational style. Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood," on the other hand, was taken at an ultra-slow tempo, emphasizing the feeling of the chord changes. The set closed with "Blue Monk," with Klinefelter highlighting Monk's unique syncopations.

The second set began with two standards, "I Hear a Rhapsody" and "Someday My Prince Will Come." Miles Davis' cool bop version of the latter tune set the stage for nearly all later renditions, and this interpretation was no exception. These were followed by the highlight of the evening, a sensational elaboration of Ellington's "Caravan," stirred up by Ridl's stunning, Shostakovich-like introduction and evolving into wild "Arabian Nights" shout-outs by both players, with the ghost of Art Tatum hovering around the spinet piano that Ridl managed to make sound like a Steinway grand. The evening concluded on a laidback sentimental note with "Body and Soul" and Jobim's "Triste."

Roller's is one of a number of smaller, intimate settings for jazz that have cropped up in the Philadelphia area, compensating for some of the attrition of nightclubs. It occupies the upper floor of the Flying Fish, a fine local dining establishment, so the fare and drinks at the jazz events are a cut above what you'd find elsewhere.


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read The Magpie Salute At The Grand Point North Festival 2018 Live Reviews
The Magpie Salute At The Grand Point North Festival 2018
by Doug Collette
Published: September 23, 2018
Read Chris Isaak at The Paramount in Huntington, NY Live Reviews
Chris Isaak at The Paramount in Huntington, NY
by Christine Connallon
Published: September 23, 2018
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 "36th International Tampere Jazz Happening" Live Reviews 36th International Tampere Jazz Happening
by John Ephland
Published: December 4, 2017
Read "Tessa Souter at Pizza Express in London's Soho" Live Reviews Tessa Souter at Pizza Express in London's Soho
by Martin McFie
Published: June 30, 2018
Read "JazzNorway in a Nutshell 2018" Live Reviews JazzNorway in a Nutshell 2018
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 2, 2018
Read "Vilnius Mama Jazz  Festival 2017" Live Reviews Vilnius Mama Jazz Festival 2017
by John Sharpe
Published: November 28, 2017